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Taiwan not yet ready to receive Philippine investigators

Taiwan not yet ready to receive Philippine investigators

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) Taiwan is not yet ready to welcome investigators from the Philippines as both sides have not ironed out some differences over probing the May 9 shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine maritime patrol personnel, a senior official said Wednesday. Vice Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang confirmed that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) had received a letter of request from the Philippines for judicial assistance in a probe into the incident which occurred in overlapping waters of the two countries' exclusive economic zones. According to the letter of request, a delegation of Philippine forensic experts and officials was scheduled to come to Taiwan the following day to examine the fishing boat that was attacked and strafed by a Philippine government vesssl. As the Philippines had yet to respond to a Taiwanese request that its own investigators be given access to a video record of the incident taken by the Philippine patrol boat that carried out the shooting and be permitted to interview the Filipino officers aboard the ship, Chen said Taiwan would not agree to allow the Philippine delegation to visit for the time being. "Mutual help under the bilateral judicial assistance agreement should be extended on an equal and reciprocal basis," Chen said. MOJ officials said the two countries have been holding talks on technical details of mutual judicial assistance, including listing requests for evidence related to the incident. Taiwan has made 10 demands, while the Philippines has come up with a list of 11, the officials said. After intensive negotiations, the MOJ officials said, the Philippines agreed to allow the Taiwanese investigators to board the Philippine vessel to check whether bullets they gathered from the Taiwanese fishing boat were fired from its guns. Yang Wan-li, a senior MOJ prosecutor in charge of international and cross-Taiwan Strait legal affairs, has been negotiating with relevant Philippine officials in Manila over the past few days, the officials said, adding that the ministry sent another senior prosecutor to Manila Wednesday to assist in the talks. Reports from Manila said the passports of the Philippine investigators had been sent to Taiwan's representative office in Manila for visa issuance. A number of Philippine TV stations and print media outlets have sent journalists to Taiwan in the past couple of days to await the arrival of the Filipino investigators and also to cover Filipino expatriates' life and work in Taiwan amid the current row. (By Tsai Pei-chi, Emerson Lim and Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2021-05-15 13:37 GMT+08:00