Philippines reviewing maritime agreement with Taiwan following report on standoff

The Philippine government is in the process of reviewing the law enforcement and fisheries agreement with Taiwan, the Department of Foreign Affairs said following the report on two-hour standoff between Philippine and Taiwanese coast guards that happened last week 23 nautical miles east of Itbayat.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said agreement will provide guidelines for law enforcement agencies from both sides like coast guards in addressing incidents at sea including illegal fishing and arrests.

“For this fisheries agreement, I think there are sets and procedures on how to deal with arrests of fishermen and detention and on how to handle cases like this,” the DFA spokesman said.

“This agreement is about managing illegal fishing, arrests. No discussion of maritime boundaries or demarcation or maritime boundary delimitation,” Jose said as Philippines is following the One-China Policy.

A portion of exchanges between two coast guards follows:

Taiwanese Coast Guard: This is Taiwan Coast Guard.
Philippine Coast Guard: What is your intention? You said you are now leaving? Why are you still here?
TCG: We are not leaving. We are not leaving.
PCG: This is our territory. You do not have any rights here.
TCG: This is our Exclusive Economic Zone. This is our Exclusive Economic Zone. We have rights to stay here. We are not leaving.

After two hours of insisting each other’s sovereignty, the Taiwanese Coast Guard left.

Both governments have expressed desire for an early conclusion of agreement.