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Philippines should get with the high-seas program

Taiwan and the Philippines have had a fishing rights dispute for a half century. Long before the exclusive economic zones were set in place, fishermen from Taiwan had gone over waters of the Philippine Islands in search of prized tunas. Philippine coastguardsmen love to collect fines by arresting and detaining Taiwan fishermen operating near or within the territorial waters of the Philippines and those making innocent passage to the Southern Pacific. A few of them were killed, the last one being Hung Shih-cheng, a Little Ryukyu fisherman aboard the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 tuna boat.

The killing occurred on May 9 last year on the high seas, within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines. Hung was shot to death by a Philippine coastguardsman aboard his Maritime Control Surveillance 2001 in Taiwan's exclusive economic zone. The Philippine Coast Guard insisted that the shooting was a reaction to the threat of being rammed by the Kuang Ta Hsing.

After the incident, Taiwan recalled its representative in the Philippines, Raymond Wang, and sent Philippine representative Antonio Basilio back to Manila.

Taiwan also imposed sanctions and conducted a two-day “safety and rescue drill” with its naval and coast guard forces near the waters where the killing occurred on the grounds that it was in violation of international law. Taiwan made four demands to resolve the incident, too, including an apology, compensation for Hung and the damages on the Kuang Ta Hsing, punishment of any and all responsible Philippine coastguardsmen and opening of negotiations for a fisheries agreement.

countries.

January 26, 2014    billy_bob313@
One of the mistakes Taiwan made was to take the word of the Philippine government. However, the biggest mistake Taiwan makes is to consider the Philippines a friend. No one will ever be charged or much less be convicted and as far as some fishing agreement is concerned, it will not happen. There is no desire on the part of Manila to ever come to an agreement.
January 28, 2014    ludahai_twn@
There are several errors of fact here, not the least of which is:

1. The Philippines did NOT promise to prosecute the coastguardsmen deemed responsible. They RECOMMENDED prosecution, but the prosecutors and judges have the final decision in accordance with the rule of law in the Philippines, where Taiwan has no jurisdiction.

2. The Philippines rejected cooperation only AFTER the president of Taiwan broke his own promise to await the results of the proposed joint investigation by instigating sanctions even before the investigation occurred.

3. There is no such thing as overlapping Exclusive Economic Zones in accordance with the UNCLOS. Taiwanese fishermen have no right to fish within the territorial waters or EEZ of the Philippines.

Would Taiwan's government accept Philippine fishermen fishing so close to Taiwan's coastline? Of course not. There is a reason Taiwan took a beating in the international press on this. It is because the fishermen were clearly illegally fishing within the Philippine EEZ. The action of the coastguardsmen was excessive, to be sure. However, if you look at it from the point of view of the Philippines, it becomes easy to see their frustration.

Taiwan needs to abide by international norms in its dealings with the Philippines and other states in the region and accept that international law does not support Taiwan's claims in these so-called 'overlapping waters'.
January 29, 2014    skier_rich@
There is an overlapping EEZ.

"A state's EEZ extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) out from its coastal baseline. The exception to this rule occurs when EEZs would overlap; that is, state coastal baselines are less than 400 nautical miles (740 km) apart. When an overlap occurs, it is up to the states to delineate the actual maritime boundary. Generally, any point within an overlapping area defaults to the nearest state."

It isn't explicitly illegal for Taiwan to fish the way it does. Therefore international law does support Taiwan. However, international norms do not, and Taiwan's continual pushing of this loophole is in very poor taste and inviting confrontation.
January 29, 2014    billy_bob313@
ludahai_twn@ wrote:
There are several errors of fact here, not the least of which is:

1. The Philippines did NOT promise to prosecute the coastguardsmen deemed responsible. They RECOMMENDED prosecution, but the prosecutors and judges have the final decision in accordance with the rule of law in the Philippines, where Taiwan has no jurisdiction.

2. The Philippines rejected cooperation only AFTER the president of Taiwan broke his own promise to await the results of the proposed joint investigation by instigating sanctions even before the investigation occurred.

3. There is no such thing as overlapping Exclusive Economic Zones in accordance with the UNCLOS. Taiwanese fishermen have no right to fish within the territorial waters or EEZ of the Philippines.

Would Taiwan's government accept Philippine fishermen fishing so close to Taiwan's coastline? Of course not. There is a reason Taiwan took a beating in the international press on this. It is because the fishermen were clearly illegally fishing within the Philippine EEZ. The action of the coastguardsmen was excessive, to be sure. However, if you look at it from the point of view of the Philippines, it becomes easy to see their frustration.

Taiwan needs to abide by international norms in its dealings with the Philippines and other states in the region and accept that international law does not support Taiwan's claims in these so-called 'overlapping waters'.
Excuse me for being stupid but there would have never been a joint investigation without sanctions. No judge or prosecutor will bring charges against anyone in this case in accordance with the policy of corruption and in regards to that fact no foreigner can get justice in the Philippines. Ask the families and survivors of the Hong Kong tourists who were massacred.
January 31, 2014    ludahai_twn@
skier_rich@ wrote:
There is an overlapping EEZ.

"A state's EEZ extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) out from its coastal baseline. The exception to this rule occurs when EEZs would overlap; that is, state coastal baselines are less than 400 nautical miles (740 km) apart. When an overlap occurs, it is up to the states to delineate the actual maritime boundary. Generally, any point within an overlapping area defaults to the nearest state."

It isn't explicitly illegal for Taiwan to fish the way it does. Therefore international law does support Taiwan. However, international norms do not, and Taiwan's continual pushing of this loophole is in very poor taste and inviting confrontation.
Article 57 of the UNCLOS states: "The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured." -- key words here, not extend beyond... this does NOT mean that 200 miles is a definite line. It can be less than that, as it clearly is in this case.

Also, EEZ stands for 'exclusive economic zone'. Hard for it to be exclusive if it is shared.

If the 200-mile areas overlap, the MEDIAN line between the coastal baselines has become the accepted means of delimiting EEZs in the absence of any other agreement. This is on the basis of the Continental Shelf treaty, to which Taiwan IS a party as it was ratified prior to 1971.
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