U.S. House committee chair urges Philippines to compensate Taiwanese farmer’s family ‘on humanitarian grounds’

Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot

Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot

Representatives Steve Chabot, chairman, and Eni F.H. Faleomaveaga, a ranking member, of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific issued this statement on May 15 on the raging dispute between the Philippines and Taiwan:

“Last Thursday, May 9, 2013, a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Guang Da Xing No. 28, was fired upon by a Philippine government vessel in waters 164 nautical miles southeast of Eluanbi, the southernmost part of Taiwan in waters considered by both Taiwan and the Philippines to be within Taiwan’s 200 nautical-mile-from-shore Exclusive Economic Zone.

“The Taiwanese fishing boat was severely damaged and suffered engine failure, causing it to float adrift. Crew member Hong Shi-cheng, a Taiwanese national, was shot and killed. The Philippine government vessel sailed away without offering any assistance.

“A government vessel’s shooting of an unarmed fishing boat is an act of violence, and is in violation of international law. Therefore, we call upon the Philippines to promptly and sincerely respond to the requests of the Taiwan government to apologize, punish the perpetrators, and provide proper compensation to the victim’s family based on humanitarian grounds.

“It is imperative that these two close and longstanding allies of the United States work together for an immediate and peaceful resolution of this incident. The circumstances that have given rise to such an incident must be addressed so as to guarantee as much as possible that such an incident will never happen again. Ultimately, this means the negotiation of an agreement or treaty on marine fishing between Manila and Taipei.

“During this difficult time, we express our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Hong.”

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has conveyed his government’s “deep regret and apology” to the family of Hong Shi-cheng. The apology did not come with an offer of compensation.

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