Thu, Apr 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

New Council of Maritime Affairs to be inaugurated

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Premier William Lai speaks in an undated photograph. Lai is set to participate in the inauguration of the Cabinet’s Council of Maritime Affairs scheduled for Saturday in Kaohsiung.

Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times

The Council of Maritime Affairs is scheduled to be inaugurated in Kaohsiung on Saturday, becoming the first Cabinet-level agency in the municipality, a source said yesterday.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is scheduled to preside over the inauguration ceremony, the source said.

The council is to be the responsible authority on the use and conservation of ocean resources, as well as research and development, it said.

The council would face multiple challenges, including regulating cross-border fishing, the source said.

Last year saw an increase in cross-border fishing, especially Chinese fishing boats near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) which severely infringed upon the nation’s fishing rights and resources, the source said.

The Coast Guard Administration last month accused Chinese and Vietnamese ships of poaching more than15 tonnes of resources in the Dongsha Atoll National Park area, the source said.

Hydraulic engineering expert Hwung Hwung-hweng (黃煌煇) has been tapped to head the council, while Coast Guard Administration Director-General Lee Chung-wei (李仲威) and National Sun Yat-sen University vice president Chen Yang-yi (陳陽益) have been tapped as deputy chairmen, the source said.

Lee would continue to head the administration while serving as deputy chairman of the council, the source added.

The establishment of the council would place the use and conservation of maritime resources, as well as marine research and development, under one agency, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

The council was scheduled to be inaugurated in July 2016, but it was suspended due to a difference in opinion in the legislature, the source said.

The inauguration was rescheduled for Saturday during a meeting last year presided over by former premier Lin Chuan (林全), it said.

Kaohsiung, the nation’s most important commercial and fishing port, was considered the ideal location for the council, the source said, adding that it was also a move to narrow the development gap between the north and south of the nation.

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