Mar­itime law en­force­ment pact needed: Philip­pines

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Tai­wan and the Philip­pines should sign an agree­ment cov­er­ing law en­force­ment co­op­er­a­tion in their over­lap­ping eco­nomic wa­ters soon, fol­low­ing a stand­off be­tween coast guard ships of the two sides last week, the Philip­pines gov­ern­ment said Wed­nes­day.

“The in­ci­dent high­lights the need for an early con­clu­sion of such an agree­ment that would for­mal­ize how to re­solve fish­ing dis­putes, in­clud­ing pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing the detention and re­lease of any fish­ing ves­sels or fish­er­men, so as to pre­vent the oc­cur­rence of sim­i­lar in­ci­dents in the fu­ture,” the Philip­pines’ Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs said in a state­ment re­leased Wed­nes­day.

The stand­off be­tween a Tai­wan Coast Guard corvette and a Philip­pines Coast Guard ship took place in the Bashi Chan­nel May 25 af­ter the lat­ter in­ter­cepted the Tai­wanese fish­ing boat “Ming Jin Cai No.6” in an area where the two coun­tries’ ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zones over­lap.

The Tai­wanese boat was re­leased within four hours.

A Philip­pines gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said that a draft of the pact has been de­lib­er­ated by a legal team at Mala­canang Palace.

The of­fi­cial said the two sides need to fur­ther dis­cuss some de­tails such as the legal sta­tus of the pact and the ex­tent of the law en­force­ment al­lowed un­der it.

Asked when such a pact might be signed, the of­fi­cial said it should be done by the end of this year.

On May 26, Tai­wan’s For­eign Min­is­ter David Lin also said the pact will be signed by the end of the year.

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