Phl-Taiwan July meeting to discuss fisheries pact - report
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2013 - 5:02pm

MANILA, Philippines - A Taiwanese foreign affairs official has echoed Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's agenda to forge a fisheries agreement with the Philippines as a follow-up to the first preparatory meeting last Saturday in Manila, a report said.

Related story: Phl, Taiwan agree to avoid force in sea disputes

Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs director-general Benjamin Ho, in an interview with Taipei Times, said his government wants well-defined coastal areas where fishermen from both countries can operate freely.

"Our goal is to sign a fishery agreement with the Philippines ... We will continue to negotiate with the Philippines [on that issue]," the Times, a major newspaper in China and Taiwan, quoted Ho as saying.

Ho added that the next meeting will likely be held in July involving both countries' fishery, foreign affairs and maritime security officials.

The report added that the second preparatory meeting to take place in Taipei will "pave the way for fishery talks between the two countries."

"A fishery agreement will help prevent a recurrence of the shooting of 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) by Philippine Coast Guard personnel on May 9," the report said.

Similarly, Ma expressed earlier this month that Taiwan is looking to pattern the potential deal with the Philippines after the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement.

The Taiwan-Japan deal around the disputed Diaoyutai Islands signed last April allows Taiwanese vessels to extend fishing zones to 1,400 nautical miles from the country's enforcement line.

Related story: Taiwan wants fishing deal with Philippines

Deputy Director General Cai Yao of the Department of Fisheries for Taipei and Manila Economic and Cultural Office executive director Antonio Basilio for Manila signed the minutes of last Friday's meeting, reaching a consensus on four points most notable of which is to avoid the use of force and violence in fishery incidents.

The agreement also set mechanisms on chases, boarding and inspection of each party's vessels as well as grounds for arrest and detention.

The meeting followed a parallel investigation on the May 9 incident at Balintang Channel off Basilan Island. Some members of the Philippine Coast Guard might face criminal charges for the fatal shooting of the fisherman.

Video released by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs last May 27, following the May 9 fatal shooting of the Taiwanese fisherman.

A TAIWANESE ANTONIO BASILIO BALINTANG CHANNEL BASILAN ISLAND BENJAMIN HO CHINA AND TAIWAN DEPARTMENT OF EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD TAIWAN
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