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Taiwan recalls envoy to Manila, stops hiring Filipino workers

Dispute over fisherman's shooting grows more bitter reporter, Manila

May 15, 2013

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Taiwan is to recall its envoy to Manila and will stop hiring Filipino workers to protest against the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman last week.

Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was shot dead by the Philippine coastguard in disputed waters last Thursday. The incident has sparked outrage in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s response today comes despite an apology from the Philippine envoy to Taiwan after a three-day deadline set by Taipei expired.    

"As far as the Philippine government is concerned, we have already issued our deep regret and apology to the family," President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda said the president has already sent a personal emissary to the family of the fisherman and has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into the incident.

Antonio Basilio, head of the Philippine Representative Office in Taiwan, earlier said the Philippines will compensate the fisherman's family and conduct a joint investigation with Taiwanese authorities.

"The Filipino people and the government understand the hurt and grief that the Taiwanese people have felt as result of the death of one of their own fellow citizens," Basilio said.

Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou, however, said the Philippine government and not its envoy should offer a formal apology and compensation.  He also called for the arrest of those responsible for the killing. Taiwan also wants Manila to open talks on fishery cooperation in disputed waters.

"President Ma expressed his strong dissatisfaction over the Philippines' lack of sufficient sincerity and its shifting attitude," reports quoted Lee Chia-fei, Ma's spokesperson as saying.

Taiwan has since given Manila until 6pm local time today to make a formal apology or face another round of sanctions.

Five special municipalities in Taiwan, whose residents make up 60 percent of the country's population, have already suspended cultural exchange activities with cities in the Philippines.

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