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Taiwan, Philippines to set up working group for fishery issues

Taiwan, Philippines to set up working group for fishery issues

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) Taiwan and the Philippines have agreed to set up a technical working group to deal with fishery issues, including designating an area in their overlapping exclusive economic zones where fishermen can operate freely, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday. The two sides agreed to set up the working group during the first formal fishery talks in Taipei that began a day earlier, ministry officials said. Issues to be dealt with by the working group also include fishery cooperation, the officials said, adding that details on how the working group will operate have yet to be decided. During the two-day talks, both sides touched on issues of fishing boundaries in the two sides' overlapping exclusive economic zones, but failed to reach consensus, the officials said. This issue will be discussed during future meetings of the working group, they said. The two sides also established mechanisms to inform each other of any fishery-related incidents in their overlapping zones, the ministry went on. These include a hotline and a mechanism they can use to inform each other of incidents such as maritime chases, boardings and inspections of fishing boats by either side, and the arrest and detention of fishermen, the ministry said. Implementing consensus reached in a June 14 preparatory meeting, they also set up another system for the prompt release of detained fishing vessels and their crews, it added. The June meeting came after a Philippine Coast Guard vessel opened fire on a Taiwanese fishing boat May 9 in the two countries' overlapping economic waters, killing a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman. The Philippine authorities have been amending their domestic laws with immediate effect to implement measures on avoiding the use of force or violence during fishery patrols, if there is no threat to the lives of maritime law enforcement officers, the ministry said. The two sides did not issue a joint statement on the consensus reached during the talks, but signed the minutes of the talks. "We're building the blocks," the official said. "We don't rule out the possibility of signing an agreement in the future." The Taiwan delegation was headed by the country's representative to the Philippines, Raymond Wang, while the Philippine delegation was led by Amadeo R. Perez Jr., chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, which handles ties with Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, according to the ministry. The talks were attended by government officials from foreign affairs, fisheries and maritime enforcement agencies on both sides, the ministry added. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-07-26 07:41 GMT+08:00