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Foreign Ministry cannot confirm Philippine team to come Tuesday

Foreign Ministry cannot confirm Philippine team to come Tuesday

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Foreign Minister David Lin said Monday that he was not aware that a team from the Philippines will arrive in Taiwan Tuesday to investigate an attack by a Philippine government vessel on a Taiwanese fishing boat. "I've not heard any such information," Lin said when asked about a United Evening News report that Taiwan and the Philippines have been discussing ways to cooperate in investigating the incident and that Manila had decided to send a team as early as Tuesday. Vice Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang also said Monday that his agency has not yet received a request for mutual legal assistance from the Philippines through diplomatic channels, so "there is no way they will be able to come Tuesday." Lin stressed that cooperation on the investigation was a reciprocal arrangement rather than a unilateral matter. Under the arrangement, the Philippines should inform Taiwan of areas where it needs assistance and Taiwan should do the same, and then the two sides put the requests into a "written agreement" confirming the visits, Lin said. "They cannot just come as they like," he said. An oral promise will not do, he added, because otherwise an investigation team may face what happened to a team Taiwan sent to Manila on May 16, when it was generally ignored by Philippine authorities after receiving oral permission to make the trip. In Manila, Philippine deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said with the Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation still investigating the shooting, President Benigno Aquino III does not plan to send a new envoy to Taiwan for the moment. She said the Philippines sent Amadeo Perez, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Center, to Taiwan May 15, but he was refused a meeting with Lin because the ministry felt he did not have sufficient authority from the Philippine government. Valte also said that "now, there seems to be no need" to evacuate the 87,000 Filipino workers in Taiwan amid tensions over the incident, but she said that, "should the need arise, we are prepared to evacuate." (By Rogge Chen, Emerson Lim and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2022-05-20 07:08 GMT+08:00