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Fishery pact with Manila next step after row: president

Fishery pact with Manila next step after row: president

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Friday that now that a row with the Philippines over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fishermen in May has come to an end, the next step is to sign a fishery agreement with the Philippines. He also expressed the hope that the prosecution in the Philippines against those responsible for the shooting will begin as soon as possible. The president lamented that it took "a bit too long" to settle the dispute over the death of 65-year-old fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, who was killed on May 9 by Philippine coast guard officers while operating in the two countries' overlapping exclusive economic zones. He noted that Amadeo Perez Jr., chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) and envoy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, called on the victim's family in Pingtung County's Liuqiu Township, off the coast of southern Taiwan, to extend a formal apology for the killing Thursday. A deal has also been struck on the compensation for the family, he said. Ma's comments came a day after Taiwan lifted the sanctions imposed May 15 on the Philippines, which included a freeze on the hiring of Filipino workers. The next step is to sign a fishery agreement, Ma said. He noted that Taiwan and the Philippines reached an initial agreement in June that law enforcement officers of the two countries should notify each other and should refrain from the use of force when dealing with fishery disputes in their overlapping waters. "The next step will be to follow the model of a fishery agreement with Japan so that our fishermen can operate freely in the area without interference from the Philippine side," he said. He was referring to a fishery pact signed with Japan in April that allows Taiwanese and Japanese fishermen to freely operate in a 74,300-square-kilometer area around the disputed Japan-controlled Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea. This gives Taiwanese fishermen an additional 4,530 square kilometers in which they can operate free from harassment by the Japanese authorities. In the wake of the May 9 shooting, Taiwan made four demands of the Philippines -- a formal apology, punishment of those responsible, compensation for the Hung family and bilateral fishery talks. (By Lee Shu-hua and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-10-27 04:27 GMT+08:00