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Taiwan-Philippines dispute grows

By PU ZHENDONG  (China Daily)

08:19, May 16, 2013

Taipei imposed further sanctions on Manila on Wednesday, despite an apology from Philippine President Benigno Aquino that attempted to ease a weeklong rift between the two economies.

At an unexpected news conference, a Philippine presidential spokesman said Aquino had sent the chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office to Taiwan as his personal representative to make the apology on behalf of Aquino and the Filipino people.

Just hours after the apology, Jiang Yi-huah, chief of Taiwan's executive body, announced the initiation of the second wave of sanctions against the Philippines, with measures such as suspension of high-level exchanges between the two.

Jiang said the Philippines has not shown sufficient sincerity and has been oscillating in its handling of the case, making it necessary for Taipei to take further action, Taiwan media reported.

The new sanctions also remove the Philippines from Taiwan's visa-waiver program and suspend economic exchanges, fishery cooperation, science and technology cooperation, as well as bilateral aviation negotiations.

In Manila's news conference, spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino will convey his and the Filipino people's deep regret and apology to the family of Hung Shih-cheng, the 65-year-old fishing captain shot dead last week by Filipino coast guard, as well as to the people of Taiwan over the unfortunate and unintended loss of life.

Lacierda urged Taiwan not to implement sanctions and to reverse its decision to ban new Filipino workers, AFP reported.

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