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|Friday, August 31, 2001, updated at 07:56(GMT+8)|
Philippine President Receives Relatives of Slain Chinese HostagesPhilippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday received family members of two Chinese hostages who were killed in an encounter between their captors and the military in the southern Philippines.
During a brief meeting at the presidential palace, Arroyo condoled with the family members of Zhang Zhongqiang and Xue Xing, and expressed regret over the tragedy, Chinese Embassy officials said.
Zhang and Xue, employees of a Chinese company working on an irrigation project in the southern Philippines, were killed in the encounter in Sultan Kudarat province on August 19.
A third Chinese national, Wang Shengli, managed to escape and was recovered by the military, while the fourth, Zhang's brother Zhang Zhongyi, and a local Filipino Chinese businessman, Edwin lim, remain in the hands of the kidnappers.
Chinese Ambassador Wang Chungui, who was present at the meeting, renewed China's demand that the Philippine government take all appropriate measures to have the remaining Chinese hostage safely released as soon as possible.
The ambassador also requested a written explanation of the incident from the Philippine government, and hoped that Manila would provide pension for the families of the slain hostages.
Arroyo said she will instruct departments concerned to try their best to secure the safe release of the remaining Chinese hostage, and she promised that the Philippine government will provide a written explanation of the incident to the Chinese government through diplomatic channel.
She also said her administration would consider the pension issue.
Zhang Zhongyi, Xue, Wang, together with Lim, were seized by the kidnappers on August 12 while trying to secure the release of Zhang Zhongqiang, who was kidnapped on June 20 .
Zhang Zhongqiang's wife and daughter, two of his brothers, and the brother of Xue flew to Manila last week to attend a memorial service for their beloved on Tuesday.
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