05/15/2013, 00.00
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Taipei rejects Manila’s apology and suspends recruitment of Filipino workers

For President Ma Ying-jeou the apology expressed by Philippine representative office in Taipei is "informal and insincere." The case exploded after the murder of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard. Taiwan will withdraw its delegate to the Philippines. From now on the flow of Filipino workers will be blocked.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has rejected Manila's apology following the death of a Taiwanese fisherman killed by the Philippine Coast Guard on May 9 in the waters of the South China Sea, an area disputed between the two countries. According to Ma, Antonio Basilio, head of the Philippines representation, "is not a high-ranking diplomat," and this renders Manila's act "informal and  insincere."

A special envoy Amedeo Perez was dispatched by Manila last night to discuss the case and express the "deep regret of the Filipino people." However, the move has failed to convince Taipei, which in response has launched sanctions including the expulsion of migrant workers from its territory. There are about 87 thousand Filipino immigrants In Taiwan.

The escalation of tension between the two sides has pushed China and the U.S. to put pressure on both governments for a quick diplomatic solution to the incident, avoiding provocative actions.

The Philippine Coast Guard is accused of murdering 65-year old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, in the waters that separate the two countries. The episode, which dates back to Thursday, May 9, falls within the dispute over territorial waters taking place between many countries of the China Sea. The authorities in Manila argue that the Coast Guard reacted in self-defense after being targeted by the vessel. Taiwan's government has, however, denied any responsibility on the part of the victim, stating that he was disarmed and that 52 bullet marks have been found on the hull.


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