Taipei-Manila fishery meet could be held by end of month: official
CNATAIPEI -- A delayed fishery meeting between Taipei and Manila could be held by the end of this month, with its focus on maintaining order in the two countries' overlapping exclusive economic zones, an official said yesterday.
October 22, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The two sides have been discussing the date of the meeting, said Hu Sing-hwa, deputy head of the Council of Agriculture. It will take place soon, possibly by the end of October, but the time has not yet been finalized, he added.
He said the meeting's agenda will mainly focus on measures aimed at maintaining order in the two countries' overlapping waters and that “hopefully, what happened in the past will not be repeated.”
The next meeting, set to take place in Taipei, is expected to be upgraded from the “preparatory” to the “formal” level.
After an initial meeting on June 14, the two countries agreed to hold a second meeting Sept. 16, but this was delayed because of fighting between Muslim rebels and government forces in the southern Philippines, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Taiwan and the Philippines have continued to negotiate on implementing proposals made in the previous meeting on ensuring a safe environment in which fishermen can operate, ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao said.
Both Taiwanese and Philippine officials have said one of the goals of the next meeting will be to issue a joint statement that includes the consensus reached at the June 14 meeting.
That meeting was held in response to an attack by a Philippine Coast Guard vessel on a Taiwanese fishing boat May 9 in the two countries' overlapping exclusive economic zones.
The attack left 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng dead and triggered a diplomatic standoff between Taipei and Manila that lasted into early August.
The two sides reached an initial consensus that there should be no use of force or violence during patrols of fishing grounds and that a mechanism should be established to inform each other of any fishery-related incidents.
The mechanism will expedite notification of incidents such as maritime chases, the boarding and inspection of fishing boats by either side, and the arrest and detention of fishermen, the ministry said.