White House answers petition on Balintang shooting
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - December 22, 2014 - 3:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — The White House has addressed a petition filed in Washington asking for the US government to assist in preventing violence between Taiwanese and Filipinos in waters.

The petition was posted on the White House's "We the People" platform in May 2013, accusing Philippine Coast Guard personnel of murdering a Taiwanese fisherman off Batanes Island in the northern part of the Philippines.

In an undated statement posted over the weekend, the White House said it has supported the two countries' efforts to forge a fisheries agreement aimed to make similar confrontations less likely.

"We are pleased to see that tensions between Taiwan authorities and the Government of the Philippines have decreased markedly over the past year," the statement noted.

"We support their efforts to manage their disputes in a peaceful and cooperative manner," it added.

While the petition argued that the Philippines displayed confidence that the United States will back its defense in the fatal shooting, the White House encouraged the two sides to settle differences.

"The Philippines, a treaty ally of the United States, and Taiwan, an important security and economic partner of the United States, in a region vital to international commerce, have much to gain from the full restoration of their longstanding close friendship and cooperation," it said.

Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, 65, aboard Guang Da Xing No. 28 died after Coast Guard personnel aboard a surveillance vessel fired at their fishing boat, which was within overlapping exclusive economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines.

Eight Coast Guard officers were charged with homicide. The government also sent an envoy to personally apologize to the victim's family following the incident.

BATANES ISLAND COAST GUARD EIGHT COAST GUARD GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES GUANG DA XING NO HUNG SHIH PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD TAIWAN AND THE PHILIPPINES UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE
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