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U.S. urges effective resolution of Taiwan-Philippines row

ROC Central News Agency

2013/05/16 10:54:41

Washington, May 15 (CNA) The United States expressed concern Wednesday over the increase in tension between Taipei and Manila over the May 9 fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippines and urged the two sides to work toward an effective resolution of their differences.

Washington hopes that Taiwan and the Philippines, both of which are close partners of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region, will work through their differences on this issue "as expeditiously as they can," said Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesman for the U.S. State Department.

"We urge the Philippines and Taiwan to take all appropriate measures to clarify disagreements and prevent recurrence of such tragic events," Ventrell said in a daily news briefing.

"And we continue to urge both parties to ensure maritime safety and to refrain from actions that could further escalate tensions in the region and undermine the prospects for a rapid and effective resolution of differences," he added.

With the death of the fisherman having sparked widespread outrage in Taiwan, Taipei imposed a series of sanctions on the Philippines Wednesday after Manila failed to respond satisfactorily to Taiwan's demand for a formal apology, compensation for the victim's family, a promise to bring those responsible to justice, and fishery negotiations.

Although Philippine President Benigno Aquino III appointed Amadeo Perez, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), as his personal representative to Taiwan to convey his deep regret and apology to the victim's family and the people of Taiwan, Manila insisted that the killing of the fisherman was "unintended" and fell short of addressing the three other demands made by Taipei.

While announcing the sanctions against the Philippines Wednesday, Taipei criticized Manila as "evasive, procrastinative and lacking in sincerity" in its handling of the case and raised the possibility of further retaliatory actions.

Asked about the matter, Ventrell would not comment on whether the Philippines' apology was "lacking in sincerity."

"This is a determination for the Taiwan authorities to make, and they can discuss that as appropriate directly with the government of the Philippines," he said.

He also said incidents such as this underscore the need for a code of conduct in the Pacific regions in which there are disputed areas of territorial waters and other claims to various territories.

(By Tony Liao and Y.F. Low)

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