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Taiwan ready to revive fishery talks with Philippines

Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2013 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines - Taiwan is keen on restarting talks on a fisheries agreement with the Philippines after the release of investigation findings on the fatal shooting of a suspected Taiwanese poacher.

Taiwan's Fisheries Agency James Shah said Thursday that the pact with Manila will prevent the recurrence of the incident in Balintang Channel in May.

"We are preparing for the fishery talks," Shah said in an interview with Taiwan state news agency.

The official said  the next round of discussion  is scheduled soon after the preparatory meeting between the two countries last June, but did not give further details.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou had said that the deal can be pattered after an existing deal with Japan. Under the agreement, Taiwan's fishing zones extend to 1,400 nautical miles beyond its enforcement line and around Japan-claimed Senkaku Islands.

"The Republic of China government is peace-loving and dedicated to resolving the dispute peacefully ... The Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement can serve as a fine example for reference," Ma said in June.

Similarly, President Benigno Aquino III said in May that Malacañang is examining  and may consider a potential fisheries agreement to solve maritime rows with Taiwan and neighboring countries over so-called overlapping exclusive economic zones.

"We are having the fisheries agreement [and] our limitations studied. The guarding of the national patrimony provisions of the Constitution will come into play," Aquino said.

Taiwan Fisheries deputy director general Cai Yao and Manila Economic and Cultural Office executive director Antonio Basilio reached a consensus on four points, most notable of which is to avoid the use of force and violence in fishery incidents in a meeting on June 14.

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

On Wednesday, the National Bureau of Investigation recommended homicide charges against eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel who fired at the Taiwanese fishing vessel. If convicted, they could face sentences of between 12 and 20 years in prison.

ANTONIO BASILIO BALINTANG CHANNEL CAI YAO AND MANILA ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL OFFICE FISHERIES AGENCY JAMES SHAH NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ON WEDNESDAY PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO REPUBLIC OF CHINA SENKAKU ISLANDS TAIWAN
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