Family of killed fisherman willing to accept Philippine apology

2013/08/05 23:49:51

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) The family of a Taiwanese fisherman shot dead by the Philippine Coast Guard is willing to accept an apology extended by the Philippines, the fisherman's daughter said Monday, amid indications that the three-month spat between the two countries may be coming to an end.

"There has been progress" in the efforts to resolve the dispute, Foreign Minister David Lin said late Monday. He did not elaborate, saying only that the government will make a public statement in due course.

Lin and Hung Tzu-chien, the daughter of the 65-year-old fisherman killed in the shooting, made the comments as the fishing boat set out to sea for the first time since the May 9 incident.

The Kuang Ta-hsing No. 28 will fish for a week in waters off Taiwan's southeastern coast, said skipper Hung Yu-chih, before waving goodbye to his mother Hung Chen Ah-lun, the widow of Hung Shih-cheng, the fisherman from the southern Pingtung County killed while operating in the overlapping economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines.

Work on the fishing boat was completed on July 30 to repair the damage sustained when it was sprayed with bullets fired from a Philippine Coast Guard vessel, said Hung Yu-chih.

At home, the skipper's sister, Hung Tzu-chien, expressed willingness to accept an apology as the Hung family has felt the sincerity on the part of the Philippine government.

The date to offer the apology has yet to be determined but the family wants it to take place in Hsiao Liouciou Island, where the Hung residence is located, she said.

It is her family's demand that a representative at a certain level carry a relevant document on behalf of the Philippine president or the Manila government when extending the apology, she said.

As for compensation for the family's loss, she said details are still being worked out by lawyers.

An apology and compensation are part of the demands made by the Taiwan government after the incident, which has caused tensions between the two countries to rise to the highest level in years.

Other demands include punishment of those responsible for the death of the fisherman and bilateral fishery talks to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Pending the result of the investigation and positive response expected by the Taipei government, Taiwan suspended the import of Filipino labor and most of the exchange activities between the two countries.

(By Kuo Chu-chen, Angela Tsai and Jay Chen)
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