U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement today regarding the recent tragic killing of 65 year old Taiwanese fisherman Hong Shi-cheng and the resulting diplomatic dispute between Taiwan and the Philippines. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I welcome the Philippine and Taiwanese governments to resolve the matter of Mr. Hong Shi-cheng's death as quickly as possible. While it is important that a speedy, impartial, and transparent investigation is allowed to run its course, it is also important that the two countries repair diplomatic relations swiftly using the facts at hand and in accordance with accepted international norms and traditions.
"Both Taiwan and the Philippines are important allies of the United States and I am hopeful a fisheries agreement can be negotiated to help prevent similar disputes in the future. A defined arrangement would allow both nations to take advantage of their shared natural resources while ensuring the safety of their peoples. Taiwan is a free, independent, and sovereign nation and I urge the Philippine government to put aside its one-China policy in order to come to a fisheries agreement with Taiwan.
"My heart goes out to the family of Hong Shi-cheng and my thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones."