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Government calls on media not to play up fishery disputes

Government calls on media not to play up fishery disputes

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) The Fisheries Agency (FA) under the Council of Agriculture (COA) called on the media Wednesday to avoid playing up disputes between coastguard vessels of Taiwan and the Philippines, as tension built up because of fishery incidents has threatened cordial relations.
FA Director-General Tsay tzu-yaw was reported that day to have left for the Philippines to meet his Filipino counterpart and seek ways to cool the heat.
An FA official disclosed that nationalist sentiment instigated by media reports has caused difficulty in the negotiations for the release of the Der Man Fu No. 3, a Taiwanese fishing vessel towed to the northern Philippine port of Irene by the Philippine Coast Guard June 11.
Philippine fishery officials scheduled to visit Taiwan in mid-June for discussions of a fishery law enforcement agreement have also canceled their trip.
Regarding the Der Man Fu No. 3 incident, the official said the vessel was detained by the Philippine patrol boat in waters about 11.3 nautical miles north off the Babuyan Islands, which is within the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters of the Philippines.
However, since only two people were on board, it was unlikely that they were fishing at the time, he maintained.
Reports from the Philippines suggested that another incident causing a stand-off between Taiwanese and Philippine coast guard ships in waters 23 nautical miles east of Itbayat Island June 6 received more attention from the Philippine public.
A video clip showing the more powerful presence of the Taiwanese patrol boat that had spread on the Internet has provoked radical sentiment among the public.
Some Taiwanese businessmen have said that the brewing anti-Taiwan sentiment appearing on the Internet has them worried and they expressed hope that Taiwanese fishermen will stop entering disputed waters.
Meanwhile, in a TV interview talking about the June 6 incident, Philippine Fishery Bureau chief Asis Perez said the Philippines does not recognize the overlapping economic zones as calculated by the Taiwanese authorities.
He said the Philippines and Taiwan have failed to reach consensus on fishery law enforcement mainly due to the different perceptions about their respective economic zones.
He said that despite the fact that there is an overlapping area of the economic zones of the two sides, the best way to avoid disputes is to draw a line in the middle to separate the two zones.
Contrary to the position of the Philippine Fishery Bureau, however, the Philippine Coast Guard is more inclined to reach a bilateral fishery law enforcement agreement.
A spokesman for the Philippine Coast Guard said Wednesday that Taiwan is not an enemy of the Philippines and that the Philippine side hopes to resolve the overlap issue peacefully so as to avoid more disputes in the future. (By Emerson Lim and Lillian Lin)


Updated : 2021-09-18 01:10 GMT+08:00