PH Navy to closely watch Taiwan naval exercise

Posted at 05/15/2013 2:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Navy will closely watch Taiwan's planned naval exercise following the shooting at a Taiwanese fishing boat that left one fisherman dead.

The Navy will be on alert near the border in Northern Luzon after the Taipei Times reported that a Kidd-class destroyer and a Cheng Kung class frigate will be accompanying two coast guard ships patrolling the Bashi Channel for training Thursday.

The Taipei Times also reported that the Taiwanese Navy dispatched a LaFayette-class frigate to join coast guard ships Sunday, 3 days after the shooting incident off Balintang channel in Batanes.

Taiwan's naval exercise will reportedly be held where the shooting took place.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) earlier said Taiwanese fishing vessel tried to hit their ship during a search maneuver.

The PCG said this forced them to fire a warning shot and subsequently at the engine portion of the fishing boat.

Taiwan has threatened to stop granting work permits tto Filipinos if the Philippine government refuses to issue an apology.

It also threatened to arrest the personnel involved in the shooting.

Angry Taiwanese fishermen burned Filipino flags in protest Monday in protest over the incident.

President Benigno Aquino has called for calm as tensions escalated between the two countries over last week's incident wherein a 65-year-old fisherman was shot dead.

Hundreds of fishermen wearing yellow headbands and chanting "Justice must be done!" and "Killer must be punished!" hurled eggs at the Philippine de facto embassy in Taipei, which was guarded by dozens of police.

Aquino said Monday Philippine officials are in talks with their counterparts from the Taiwan foreign ministry and assured them an investigation is being carried out.

"I think it is in the interest of both parties to proceed in a calm basis," Aquino told reporters. "We are proceeding in that manner." – With a report from Agence France-Presse