Taiwan, PH vow to shun use of force


THE governments of Taiwan and the Philippines pledged to avoid the use of force and violence in their implementation of fisheries laws as both sides wrapped up their investigation into the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by members of the Philippine Coast Guard.

The agreement was made during the first preparatory meeting on fishery cooperation that was held in Manila on Friday.

It hopes to avoid a recurrence of violent incidents such as the shooting of 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng who died when members of the Philippine Coast Guard fired on his boat on May 9.

The foreign ministry said Taipei and Manila will share their maritime law enforcement procedures and establish means to be able to notify each other when actions are going to be undertaken against the other party.

In line with international practice, they also agreed to develop a mechanism for the prompt release of detained fishing vessels and their crews.

Further meetings would be held on fisheries cooperation including management and conservation schemes, it added.

The National Bureau of Investigation, which probed the May 9 incident, had recommended the filing of criminal charges against the Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting.

Following pressure from Taiwan, the Philippines agreed to joint investigations into the incident.

Taiwanese authorities were allowed to visit the Philippines, inspect the ship and interview the coastguard personnel involved.

The Taiwan investigators concluded that two guns were used in the attack, including a M14 rifle that fired the fatal shot.

Adding to the anger in Taiwan, authorities said the fishing boat had 50 bullet holes and there were no marks consistent with it ramming the coastguard vessel.

With a report from AFP


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