Philippines admits to shooting at Taiwan boat

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Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Asis Perez points to a map in Manila on May 10, 2013, showing where a Philippine fisheries patrol vessel manned by the coast guard shot at a Taiwanese fishing vessel the day before near Balintang island in the northern Philippines. The Philippine coastguard admitted on May 10 that its personnel shot at a Taiwanese fishing boat in an incident that authorities in Taipei said left a crewman dead. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines admitted Friday that its coast guard fired at a Taiwanese fishing boat in an incident that authorities in Taipei said left a crewman dead and triggered widespread outrage on the island.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou demanded that the Philippines apologize for Thursday’s shooting, which the Taiwanese government said killed a 65-year-old fisherman and badly damaged the vessel.

But Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said the incident took place in Philippine waters and the Filipino personnel had been properly carrying out their duties to stop illegal fishing.

“If somebody died, they deserve our sympathy but not an apology,” Balilo told reporters.

Balilo said the incident happened just north of the main Philippine island of Luzon in the Balintang channel, which is part of the Philippines’ territory and not claimed by any other country or Taiwan.

“This is part of Philippine waters,” he said.

Balilo said the 30-meter (100-foot) coast guard vessel initially saw two fishing vessels and tried to approach them. He said the coastguard crew fired at the smaller of the two vessels after it tried to ram the Filipino boat.

“They fired at the machinery to disable it. They were able to disable the vessel although they were not aware at the time that somebody had been hit,” he said.

Balilo said the coast guard quickly left the area after it saw a third vessel, “a big white ship”, come into view.

“Our people felt threatened so they left the area,” he said.

In Taipei, Ma insisted the Philippine side was at fault.

“We demand the Philippines investigate and clarify the truth, to apologize, apprehend the killer and compensate,” he told reporters.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin also said he was “very angry”.

The incident dominated Taiwanese media, which strongly condemned the Filipinos and carried reports from the boat’s captain insisting he did not cross over into Philippine waters.

“Barbaric Philippine vessel fired at our fishing boat, seasoned fisherman shot dead,” read the headline of a front-page story in the Taipei-based China Times newspaper.

Hung Yu-chih, the captain of the boat who is also the dead man’s son, told the China Times that Philippine gunmen fired several shots at them.

He said one of the shots hit the fuel tank of the vessel, which had only four people on board.

Two Taiwanese fishing boats came to Hung’s rescue after he called for help, and towed the boat back to a port in southern Taiwan.

In 2006, a Taiwanese fishing boat skipper was shot dead off the northern Philippines. Taipei protested then to the Philippines over what it said was the improper use of weapons.

Taiwan has ruled itself since 1949, but China still considers the island part of its territory. The Philippines, like most countries, officially recognizes China over Taiwan but maintains trade ties with the island.

The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions around the region over rival claims to the nearby South China Sea.

China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims to parts of the sea.

China’s increasingly aggressive tactics to assert its authority over the waters in recent years have raised alarm among the rival claimants. China said on Tuesday it had sent one of its largest fishing fleets into the sea.

Originally posted: 12:52 pm | Friday, May 10th, 2013

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  • dikoy321

    VIEWS FROM GERMANY:

    President Ma Ying Jeou, THREATS is not the way of DIPLOMACY !
    I’m no POLITICIAN and can express my views, unlike you!
    As leader, you should EXERCISE RESTRAINT like P-Noy is doing!
    The people of Prieto-Diaz, Sorsogon also HELPED bury the dead and the survivors of the Taiwanese fishing boat that ran aground near the town’s waters in 1968!
    Sulong Pilipinas !!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lin.allenandlydia Lin AllenandLydia

      Really interesting you think they are fishman or terrorist, drive a small boat ran to a warship which is 10 times bigger. It not make sense, think about it in logical.

  • http://www.businessinsider.com/the-art-of-war-sun-tzu-2011-5?op=1 Sun Tzu

    Taiwanese fishermen trespassing is wrong.
    Philippines Coast Guard opening fire on unarmed fishing vessel is wrong.

    What is the fair way to resolve this.

    Those taiwanese fishermen should be brought back here to face charges on trespassing.
    Those coast guards who open fired should be charged under international law.

    • Roo

      Did Taiwanese fishermen really trespass? That should be more evidence to prove that! The government doesn’t announce the investigation report ! According to Taiwan’s news , they said they didn’t trespass. And if it is true ,
      is shooting 45 shots necessary?

    • Jayson Cafirma Quinones

      The fishermen must be returned to the Philippines, because they illegally entered Philippine waters. And the Coast Guard opened fire because the fishermen attempted to ram their boat. Who on earth would allow his ship to be rammed by another boat? And, given that the Coast guard ship has means to defend itself, it fired shots to the boat.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lin.allenandlydia Lin AllenandLydia

        Would you ride a scooter rush to tank, it not make sense. Stop lying. Face the truth, truly apologize. stop let the relationship of 2 country getting worth!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lin.allenandlydia Lin AllenandLydia

      Seems human’s life is worth nothing to you, the victim still waiting for a apologize but so far they got nothing but lie. PH gov announce they got video to proof fish boat tried to rush them but it 8 days ago, there r nothing they show to public. Besides, would you ride a scooter rush to tank, it not make sense.

  • im_earth

    buti nlng pasok si Trillanes sa SENADO.

    • Bonifacio Penafiel

      sasabihin naman ni trillanes di interesado ang pilipinas… tulad sa spratlys

  • neo822

    DON’T BUY Taiwanese products or Made in Taiwan.

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