Taipei welcomes start of fisheries talks with PH
TAIPEI—The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mofa) on Friday said it welcomed remarks made by a Philippine official that Manila and Taipei were likely to discuss a possible fishery agreement soon, probably by June or July this year.
“We welcome such a positive response by Manila,” Anna Kao, a spokesperson for Mofa, said.
The opening of fishery talks is one of four demands Taiwan issued to the Philippines following the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman, Hung Shih-chen, by Philippine coast guards on May 9.
Launching bilateral fishery talks would help establish a fishery management mechanism for overlapping waters and significantly improve the chances of preventing such a tragedy from happening again, Kao said.
She did not confirm whether the proposed meeting will be held next month or in July.
According to Philippine news reports, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that a technical working group composed of fisheries officials from both countries will soon meet to discuss key issues that should be tackled for the creation of a fisheries agreement.
“The meeting may be held possibly by June but perhaps it would be better by July,” Alcala told reporters.
One of the key issues to be discussed, Alcala said, is the delineation of territorial waters of the Philippines and Taiwan.
Hung was killed by gunfire from a Philippine state vessel on May 9 when his boat strayed into overlapping Philippine and Taiwanese waters.
The incident sparked a heated diplomatic row between the two countries.
Taipei has also demanded that Manila issue a formal apology, apprehend the perpetrators and compensate Hung’s family.
Kao made the remarks when asked to comment on a statement reportedly made by Alcala in Manila on Thursday.
Asked about the date for a possible meeting, Fisheries Agency Director General James Sha said the Philippines had proposed the talks be held as soon as possible, “but no exact date has been touched so far.”
Related details are being discussed by officials of both countries, Sha added.
President Benigno Aquino III said earlier last week that his government was open “to discussing a fisheries agreement with its neighboring countries” after resolving the diplomatic row with Taiwan triggered by the shooting. China Post/ANN
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