MOFA expects to sign marine pact with Manila soon
Taiwan and the Philippines are expected to sign an agreement on marine patrol cooperation soon to prevent future fishing incidents in overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs), a Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( MOFA) official said yesterday.
Elliott Charng ( ) directorgeneral of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs told at a news briefing that the Philippine government is “at its final stage” to review the agreement.
Charng expected that the pact to be officially signed in the coming months.
”We hope the agreement will be sealed before the fishing season starts in April,” he told reporters at a news briefing.
Taiwan has been hoping to seal the deal for nearly a year now but little progress has been made so far.
The deal is meant to prevent a recurrence of the shooting death of 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng ( ) by Philippine Coast Guard personnel on May 9, 2013.
On May 9, 2013, Philippines coast guards sprayed Hung’s boat with bullets in the part of the South China Sea where the two countries’ EEZs overlap.
The incident sparked national outrage in Taiwan, prompting the government to impose retaliatory measures.
In August 2013, the Philippines released the results of its investigations, which recommended homicide charges be brought against the eight men involved in the shooting and that punishments be imposed on four others for allegedly trying to tamper with evidence.
Taiwan subsequently lifted its sanctions against the Philippines and issued a statement announcing that relations between the two countries have been normalized.
On March 18, the Philippines Department of Justice announced its decision to file homicide charges against the eight men over the death of Hung Shihcheng.
The eight Philippine suspects charged with homicide are facing a maximum 21-year prison term under Philippine law.
Members from the Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance ( ), the Yunlin chapter of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union ( ) and other activist groups are seen presenting a skit outside the Yunlin County Government, yesterday. The groups were protesting against Formosa Plastics Company’s ( proposal of an agriculture water diversion channel.