Taiwan and the Philippines negotiate law enforcement and fishing cooperation in overlapping territorial waters
(3 February 2015)
The Taiwanese Director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Elliot Charng, reported that Taiwan and the Philippines will soon sign an agreement spelling out cooperative law enforcement in their overlapping territorial waters. The two countries have been negotiating the agreement since May 2013, when Coast Guard officers from the Philippines shot and killed a crew member aboard a Taiwanese boat in the Luzon Strait.
The countries have agreed to refrain from force or use of violence during patrols, establish a channel of communication to relay information about fishing incidents, and to quickly release detained fishers and boats. Geopolitical implications of the agreement involve China, according to Denny Roy, senior fellow at the East-West Centre at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, “The main larger significance is to model how two countries can constructively work out an arrangement over disputed territory, in obvious contrast to how China is trying to impose its will on rival claimants.”
Taiwan has stated that the agreement will be signed before the fishing season begins in April 2015.
Taiwan-Philippine fishing agreement in ‘final review’, 31 December 2014, Taipei Times, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/12/31/2003608027
In Shooting Aftermath, A Model For Easing Asia's Stubborn Maritime Disputes, 2 February 2015, Ralph Jennings for Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2015/02/02/from-a-bitter-dispute-comes-a-model-for-south-china-sea-cooperation/