Philippines apologizes for killing of two Vietnamese fishermen

By AFP   October 26, 2017 | 07:37 pm PT
The two Vietnamese men were shot dead by Philippine naval personnel during a chase last month.

The Philippines issued an apology on Thursday for the killing of two Vietnamese fishermen by its naval personnel during an anti-poaching operation at sea.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the apology at a meeting with Vietnam's Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich as the two Southeast Asian neighbors discussed ways to improve cooperation, especially in naval matters.

"Secretary Lorenzana also relayed President Rodrigo Duterte’s assurance that the families of the Vietnamese fishermen who died in the incident will be properly compensated," a defense department statement said.

It did not say how much they will receive.

The two fishermen were found dead with gunshot wounds and five others were arrested after the Philippine Navy clashed last month with suspected poachers in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

Foreign fishermen are often caught trespassing in Philippine waters. Last year, President Duterte ordered the release of 17 Vietnamese fishermen caught in his nation's waters.

In 2013, the Philippines also apologized to Taiwan over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coastguards who said his vessel had strayed into local waters.

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