Seeking to calm troubled waters in maritime disputes

A Taiwanese patrol boat using a water cannon to repel a "foreign fishing boat" during a drill held off the coast of Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan, on Tuesday. On Thursday, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said that Taiwan and the Philippines have signed a f
PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

A Taiwanese patrol boat using a water cannon to repel a "foreign fishing boat" during a drill held off the coast of Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan, on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said that Taiwan and the Philippines have signed a fishery-related law enforcement pact that calls for avoiding the use of force, establishing an emergency notification system and setting up a prompt release mechanism for settling fishery disputes.

Taiwan and the Philippines have overlapping economic zones and territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands.

The Foreign Ministry said the pact reflects the spirit of the South China Sea Peace Initiative, which was proposed by Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou on May 26.

In it, Mr Ma urged all concerned parties in the Spratly dispute to settle differences peacefully, shelve sovereignty issues and jointly develop resources.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2015, with the headline 'Seeking to calm troubled waters in maritime disputes'. Print Edition | Subscribe