Philippines fishery meeting may be postponed: official
A meeting between Taiwanese and Philippine officials in charge of fishery policies scheduled for June 14-18 in Taipei might be postponed in the wake of an incident in May that took place in the overlapping economic zones of the two countries, Huang Hung-yen, deputy director of the Fisheries Agency under the Council of Agriculture, said Tuesday.
Huang said the Philippine officials might not attend the meeting because the incident has given rise to new controversy in bilateral relations.
On May 25, a patrol boat of the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (CGA) was informed that Taiwanese fishing boat the Ming Chin Tsai No.6 had been intercepted by a Philippine patrol boat.
While the Philippine Navy claimed to have the legal authority over the waters in question and was trying to force the Taiwanese vessel to agree to be towed to a Philippine port, the CGA vessel rushed to the scene to protect the Taiwanese boat in the overlapping economic zonesof the two countries.
After four hours of negotiations, the Philippine vessel eventually agreed not to tow the Ming Chin Tsai No. 6.
Although the incident did not escalate to a confrontation, the sensitive issue increased the tension between the two countries.
Huang said that to avoid further fishery disputes, it is hoped that Taiwan and the Philippines can work out an agreement modeled upon the TaiwanJapan fishery agreement so as to provide guidelines for the enforcement of legal rights.