Maritime law enforcement pact needed: Philippines
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.