President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday touted his administration’s efforts to defend the nation’s fishery rights in the East and South China seas amid an unresolved dispute with the Philippine government over the fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成), saying that the navy would increase patrols to protect Taiwanese fishermen.
“The Coast Guard Administration and the Ministry of National Defense has set up a joint patrol program following the incident in the South China Sea. Protecting the nation’s territorial waters and fishermen will be a major goal,” he said.
Ma made the remarks while visiting the army’s aviation special force command center.
Accompanied by Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), he also visited the National Defense Medical Center, Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and Taoyuan Armed Forces General Hospital yesterday, giving bonuses to army staff prior to the Dragon Boat Festival.
Amid the ongoing dispute between Taiwan and the Philippines involving the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman on a boat operating in the two countries’ overlapping exclusive economic zones, Ma said the government continues to negotiate with the Philippine government and had demanded that it apologize, compensate the victim’s family and launch fishery negotiations between the two countries.
“The Coast Guard Administration and the navy will conduct regular patrols in our territorial waters,” he said.
Taiwan and the Philippines have both launched investigations into the incident.
Ma said that disputes over fishery rights also occur in the East China Sea and the signing of a fisheries accord with Japan on waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan — aimed to resolve disputes with Japan that have been ongoing for the past 40 years.
He also reiterated the government’s efforts to protect the nation’s sovereignty, while simultaneously promoting cross-strait development.