Taipei wants treaty with Manila based on Taiwan-Japan fishery pact

Taiwan hopes to sign a fishery pact with the Philippines based on the model of a treaty with Japan, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday ahead of upcoming talks.

Benjamin Ho, director general of the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said he hopes the second round of preparatory meetings for the formal talks on fishing rights in disputed waters in the South China Sea will take place as early as the end of this month.

Top on the agenda of the upcoming talks will be the legalization of a consensus reached in the first meeting.

Taiwanese and Philippine officials met for the first time in Manila on June 14, discussing the prevention of violence in disputed waters.

Both sides agreed that the use of force should be avoided to prevent the reoccurrence of a fatal incident in May that triggered a bilateral crisis.

The Philippine Coast Guard shot dead a Taiwanese fisherman on May 9, leading to sanctions imposed by Taiwan and weeks of tough rhetoric.

On the demarcation of fishing zones, Ho said he hopes both sides will follow the model of the Taiwan-Japan fishery pact.

Under the agreement, Taiwanese and Japanese fishermen are allowed to freely operate in a jointly controlled provisional sea zone around the Japan-controlled Senkaku islands, known as Diaoyu in China.

The Philippines signed a memorandum on fisheries cooperation with Taiwan in 1991 only to invalidate the accord in 1998, most likely due to Chinese interference.