MANILA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines assured Vietnam on Monday that it will conduct a fair and thorough investigation into the deaths of two Vietnamese fishermen during a sea chase incident involving the Philippine Navy off the coast of Pangasinan province, north of Manila, on Saturday.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano gave the assurance to Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh during the ASEAN Informal Foreign Ministers Meeting at the United Nations in New York hours after the incident.
"We would like to offer our sympathies over the unfortunate loss of life and give you our assurance that we will conduct a fair and thorough investigation into this matter," Cayetano told Minh, after informing him of the incident.
Cayetano said investigating teams from the Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police have already been dispatched to Pangasinan to look into the incident.
The Philippine DFA said it received reports that Saturday's incident involved a Navy patrol vessel and six Vietnamese fishing boats that it encountered in sea areas near north of Luzon island, and the Navy patrol boat went after the Vietnamese fishing vessels, suspecting of illegal fishing.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Manila has not issued a statement on the matter.