Taiwan, Philippines moving closer to fishery pact: agriculture minister
The prospects of Taiwan and the Philippines signing a fishery law enforcement agreement are good, James Sha, vice minister of the Council of Agriculture (COA), said Thursday after fishery officials from both sides met in Manila earlierin the week to discuss the contentious issue of fishing rights.
The meeting was scheduled to be held in Taipei but the Filipino delegation canceled their trip following a series of incidents, including a standoff between coastguard vessels from the two countries, and the detention of Taiwanese fishing vessels by Filipino patrol boats.
Led by Tsay tzu-yaw, directorgeneral of the COA’s Fishery Agency, a Taiwanese delegation of officials from the foreign ministry and Coast Guard Administration left for Manila earlier this week to meet with their Filipino counterparts to try to iron out the issues and negotiate an agreement on fishery law enforcement.
Sha said the negotiators had reached a high degree of consensus and that a draft agreement has been sent to the Philippines’ Presidential Office for review.
He said he thinks an agreement can be signed soon, as long as the situation between the two sides continues to improve.
However, Sha said, discussions on the marine areas in which fishermen from both countries should be allowed to operate will not take place until both sides can guarantee that there will be no use of force in the event of disputes.
To this end, the prospective agreement will provide guidelines for each side to promptly notify the other of any incidents that require law enforcement in disputed waters and to guarantee the early release of any detained boats or fishermen, Sha said.
Police officers escort Lin Hong-dow (
), president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC, ), out of Taipei Songshan Airport yesterday. The police summoned him on June 16. Officers detained him immediately after he landed yesterday. He is currently under investigation on a charge of embezzling more than NT$2.4 billion from China United Trust and Investment Corp. with his brother Harace Lin (
), former chairman and president of Taipei 101.