Taiwan has recalled its envoy to the Philippines and stopped issuing work visas to Filipinos to express "strong dissatisfaction" over the government in Manila's handling of the death of a Taiwanese fisherman last week.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou (pictured above) on Wednesday froze the hiring of workers from the Philippines and recalled Taipei's envoy to Manila.
A 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by Filipino coastguards on May 9 in an area of contested waters; the coastguard said he had strayed onto their side of the divide.
"President Ma expressed his strong dissatisfaction over the Philippines' lack of sincerity and its shifting attitude," Ma's spokeswoman Lee Chia-fei told reporters. She also said that Taipei's envoy to the Philippines was returning home and that the Philippines' top diplomat in Taiwan, Antonio Basilio, had been asked to Manila to "help properly handle" the case.
Basilio on Wednesday met behind closed doors with Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin, who subsequently said the envoy "has voiced deep regret and apology" for the shooting.
The president's spokeswoman said, however, that Taiwan still demanded that the Philippines issue a "formal apology," compensate the victim's family, arrest the officer who fired and open fishing talks between the two countries.
"If the Philippine government cannot satisfy our side's four demands by 6.00 p.m. (1000 UTC) today, our government will adopt a second wave of sanctions," spokeswoman Lee said.
Fisherman Hung Shih-cheng died last Thursday; Taiwan has said he was shot in the neck, the Philippines have said their coastguard were aiming at mechanical parts of Hung's boat, that he was trying to ram their vessel and that an investigation is pending.
msh/dr (AFP, dpa)