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China urges Philippines to find hostage solution: FM

Updated: 2014-04-22 20:06
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China will continue to urge the Philippines to find a solution to the 2010 Manila hostage crisis which left eight Hong Kong tourists dead, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

Qin Gang was commenting after the mayor of Manila arrived in Hong Kong to apologize for the crisis.

He said at a daily press briefing that the Chinese central government has urged the Philippines to respond to the reasonable and legal demands of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)'s government and family members of the victims, and properly solve the crisis at an early date.

"We will continue to urge the Philippine government to speed up the solution," Qin said.

Former Philippine president and now Manila mayor, Joseph Estrada, arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon to make an apology in the hope of mending the strained ties.

The City Council of Manila passed a resolution in October taking it upon the city government to apologize to the people of Hong Kong for the hostage crisis.

On Aug. 23, 2010, a sacked Philippine police officer hijacked a bus with 21 Hong Kong tourists. The 11-hour hostage crisis ended with eight Hong Kong tourists killed and the hostage taker shot in a bungled police rescue.

For more than three years, survivors and relatives of the victims have been demanding an apology from the Philippine government, an offer of compensation, punishment for the officials responsible for the bungled police operation and improvements in tourist safety. But the Philippine government has never offered an apology or compensation.

Philippine President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III has consistently refused to apologize, saying it is against Philippine culture to apologize for mistakes of individuals.

The Hong Kong SAR government earlier this year declared a sanction against the Philippines to suspend 14-day visa-free treatment for holders of diplomatic and official passports of the Republic of the Philippines.