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March 28, 2017

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Taipei & Manila to ink pact on law enforcement: report

TAIPEI--Taiwan and the Philippines are expected to sign an agreement soon to facilitate maritime law enforcement cooperation, the Philippines' representative to Taiwan said.

The agreement may be signed by end of July, before the fishing season ends, Antonio Basilio told CNA in an interview this week, echoing an earlier statement by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Basilio said Philippine government officials will hold internal consultations next week to deal with the remaining issues on the proposed agreement.

These are just minor issues such as the language to be used in the agreement and the format, he said, adding that he hopes the two sides will be able to sign the pact next time they meet.

Taiwan and the Philippines have been discussing the agreement since last year after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by the Philippine Coast Guard in May.

The fisherman was onboard a Taiwanese fishing boat that was operating in an overlapping exclusive economic zone of the two countries.

During a series of fishery meetings following the shooting incident, both sides reached consensus on several issues regarding maritime law enforcement cooperation.

These include no use of force or violence when patrolling fishing grounds, the establishment of a mechanism to inform each other in the event of fishery incidents, and the release of detained fishermen and boats as soon as possible.

These principles have already been put into practice, Basilio said.

After the two sides sign the agreement, they will move on to discussing a permanent mechanism for fishery cooperation, he added.

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