Taipei eyes late August for Manila fishery talks
CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan is hoping to hold fishery talks with the Philippines in late August in an effort to address fishing disputes in their overlapping waters, a Taiwanese official said yesterday.
August 16, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Taiwan is also planning to assign a higher level official to head its negotiation team and is seeking to follow the model of its recent pact with Japan, said Benjamin Ho, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Ho's remarks came in the wake of repaired bilateral relations after Taiwan on Aug. 8 lifted a series of sanctions that had been imposed against the Philippines over its handling of the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine Coast Guard personnel in May.
Taiwan and the Philippines have agreed to hold their next fishery meeting in Taipei soon.
Both sides held a preparatory meeting June 14, during which they reached an initial consensus on several issues, including no use of force or violence during patrols of the fishing grounds and establishment of a mechanism to inform each other in the event of fishery incidents.
Ho said Taiwan hopes to strengthen the legal effects of the bilateral consensus by signing a joint statement or communique during the next round of talks.
He said James Sha, director-general of Taiwan's Fisheries Agency, may be appointed to lead the talks with Asis Perez, director of the Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
If the Japan model is followed, Taiwan's agreement with the Philippines will designate an area in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of the two countries, where fishermen from both sides will be allowed to operate freely, Ho said.
In addition, a bilateral fishing commission may be established to deal regularly with follow-up issues, he said.
The June 14 meeting in Manila was held between a Taiwanese delegation led by Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Tsay Tzu-yaw and Philippine officials led by Perez, the ministry said.
Relations between Taiwan and the Philippines had been strained since May 9, when Philippine Coast Guard personnel attacked a Taiwanese fishing boat in an overlapping exclusive economic zone of the two countries, resulting in the death of a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman, Hung Shih-cheng.