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Taiwan to sign fishery agreement with Philippines

Staff writer |
Taiwan and the Philippines are expected to sign an agreement covering law enforcement in fishery affairs by the end of July.

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The agreement is a part of efforts to improve cooperation following the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman last year, a foreign ministry official said.

Benjamin Ho, director-general of the ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that Taiwan had originally hoped to sign the agreement before the fishing season starts in April, but deliberations over some precise wording still require approval from top authorities in the Philippines. "Taiwan is waiting for Manila to complete its procedures."

The agreement is expected to bind both countries to avoid violent enforcement of maritime law and improve communications in a bid to avoid another incident like the death of fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, who was killed by Philippine Coast Guard officers May 9, 2013.

The agreement and indictments represent a big step forward for Taiwan and the Philippines after ties turned sour following the shooting. Taiwan had demanded a formal apology over the shooting, justice for those responsible, compensation for Hung's family, and bilateral fishery talks to prevent similar incidents.

Taipei imposed a series of sanctions against Manila until the four demands were met, including a freeze on the hiring of workers from the Philippines. The sanctions were lifted in August.

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