VP urges peaceful settlement to Taiwan-Philippines dispute

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) Vice President Wu Den-yih expressed hope Monday that Taiwan and the Philippines can peacefully settle their long-standing maritime territorial dispute. Wu made the remarks at a seminar in Longtan Township, Taoyuan County after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead May 9 when a Philippine law enforcement vessel opened fire on a Taiwanese fishing boat southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip when it was operating in waters in the overlapping economic zones of the two countries. Regarding the territorial dispute in the East China Sea, Wu said he hopes all parties concerned can work together to achieve the aims of the East China Sea peace initiative proposed August 2012 by President Ma Ying-jeou to jointly explore and develop resources in the area. He said Ma's initiative is aimed at pursuing peace in the East China Sea based on mutual goodwill, respect and trust. Although the East China Sea has abundant resources, including minerals, oil, gas and marine life, the unresolved territorial disputes continue to hinder exploration and development in the area. Wu also lauded a recent Taiwan-Japan fishery agreement as an embodiment of the the East China Sea peace initiative. After their 17th round of bilateral fishery consultations, the two countries signed the agreement April 13. Meanwhile, Wu said that all parties concerned have made great efforts over the past 25 years in marine science studies. Taiwan's first 2,700-ton ocean exploration ship, the Ocean Researcher Five, was launched earlier this year and is scheduled to begin making research expeditions, Wu said. (By Bien Chen-feng and Y.L. Kao)