News / Asia

    Taiwan, Philippines Pursue Joint Shooting Probe to Mend Ties

    Family members cry around the body of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng after his boat, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, arrived at Liuqiu port in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, May 11, 2013.
    Family members cry around the body of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng after his boat, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, arrived at Liuqiu port in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, May 11, 2013.
    Ralph Jennings
    The Philippines' rejection of charges that its coast guard intentionally shot a Taiwanese fisherman to death in overlapping waters has enraged Taiwan and severely strained ties between two normally friendly Pacific Rim democracies. But both sides are hinting this week at a joint investigation that could repair relations.

    The shooting of a 65-year-old fisherman aboard his boat on May 9 has created a public furor in his homeland, Taiwan, prompting calls for a full-blown apology and compensation. Taiwan said the act was intentional, but the Philippines has said much less.

    Manila’s response comes as a setback for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou as he tries to raise approval ratings of around 20 percent.

    But Taipei said this week it has made progress on its call for a joint investigation into the Luzon Strait shooting. On Tuesday, the two sides held working-level meetings and decided to offer mutual legal aid. Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao said the development shows that both sides are working in the same spirit.

    Kao said that, basically, in doing a joint investigation in spirit, the Philippines will respect each side’s legal rights to the area of ocean. She said that later both sides will make joint checks, make comparisons and hold discussions, so basically the spirit on both sides is the same.

    Manila had declined to work together after Taiwan took 11 countermeasures against it last week, including a freeze on Philippine migrant labor. About 88,000 Filipinos in Taiwan would be forced to leave once current contracts end. The flap has enraged people on both sides, making migrants feel physically threatened. It also tears at part of an American-led Asia-Pacific alliance that also includes Japan and South Korea.

    Some political strategists said the Philippines may have fallen short of Taiwan’s demands to avoid statements that could be read as conceding the disputed waters where the man was shot. Ocean economic zones claimed by each side overlap in the 250-kilometer-wide Luzon Strait.

    A joint investigation into the incident that Taiwan said left 59 bullet holes in the fishing boat could be a start toward eventual conciliation. Alex Chiang, an associate professor of international politics at National Cheng Chi University in Taipei, said the worst is already over.

    “I don’t think the Filipino president will back up a lot, but I think he will do it gradually," said Chiang. "First, I think both sides will have to agree on the investigation outcome. They both have to agree on what has happened. That’s first and foremost. Once they agree about the incident, I think it will be easy for both sides to settle the issue.”

    Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it ultimately plans to send a team to the Philippines to question witnesses and examine evidence. Manila has said it would return the visit to meet witnesses and look at the fishing boat shot by its coast guard.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora