MOFA ex­pects to sign marine pact with Manila soon

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

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.

CNA

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.

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