Philippine envoy returns home; Taiwanese investigators arrive in Manila

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(APTN)

The diplomatic row over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine coast guard appeared to have reached a gridlock on Thursday.

Philippine presidential envoy Amadeo Perez returned to Manila from Taipei, as a Taiwanese investigation team arrived in the Philippine capital.

Perez was in Taipei on Wednesday to deliver an expression of regret from the Philippines president, but Perez was refused a meeting with top officials.

Philippines de facto ambassador to Taipei, Antonio Basilio, was also asked to leave Taiwan after the government rejected his earlier apology.

“Emotions are running high. That is why it is much better to give it a little time so that they can calm down and we can talk,” said Perez as he arrived at Manila’s international airport.

Taiwan has sent a team to Manila to investigate the death of the Taiwanese man who was killed on 9 May when Philippine coast guard personnel opened fire on his fishing vessel in the Bashi Strait, between the northern Philippines and southern Taiwan.

“We hope to investigate the truth and gather evidence in order to clarify the corresponding responsibilities,” investigator Chen Wen Chi told Chinese state television.

“We will also closely discuss coordination with the related authorities in the Philippines,” she added.

Meanwhile, Filipinos living in Taiwan voiced their worries following the announcement by the Taiwanese government that it was instituting a hiring freeze on workers from the Philippines.

“The OFWs (Oversea Filipino Workers) here are still safe,” said Jimmy Lin, an ethnic Chinese with Philippine nationality living in Taiwan.

“But their concern is that if they go home, they might not be able to come back.”

Many Filipinos said they hoped the issue would be resolved quickly.

“It’s just a mistake of one, everybody is suffering. I think it’s already bad,” said Debbie Lin, a Filipina whose husband is Taiwanese.

Taiwan’s premier on Wednesday urged his citizens to maintain respect towards all Filipinos living on the island.

“We hope that everyone will treat Filipinos and Filipino workers here in Taiwan with kindness to show that Taiwan is a democratic country and we operate under the rule of law,” said Premier Jiang Yi-huah.

The Taiwan government has said it is still waiting for a formal apology from the Philippines for the shooting.

It is also demanding compensation for victim’s family, a speedy investigation and negotiations on fishery rights.

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