Taiwan denies 'bullying' Philippine patrol ship

Taiwan denies 'bullying' Philippine patrol ship

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECOP) yesterday released a statement to address a standoff between Coast Guards from Taiwan and the Philippines last month, stating that local authorities did not "bully" officials from the Southeast Asian country.

On Wednesday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) stated that a standoff had occurred with Taiwan's Coast Guard last week.

The incident occurred, according to the Philippines, when the PCG towed a detained Taiwanese fishing boat for breaching jurisdiction lines.

The PCG claimed that a Taiwan Coast Guard cutter had later appeared to block the PCG to demand the release of the vessel, to which the Philippines complied after four hours.

In response to the statement from the PCG, the TECOP stated that the short standoff occurred 21.6 nautical miles off the coast of Filipino province of Batanes, an overlapping economic zone between both nations, and not 12 nautical miles off of Batanes within the jurisdiction of the Philippines like the Southeast Asian Country claims.

The TECOP said the incident happened on May 25, and cited the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, stressing that arrests on Taiwanese vessels in waters close to the Philippines are not legal in the eyes of international law.

The office also said that the vessel in question was released from custody following positive and friendly negotiations between the Taiwan Coast Guard, the TECOP and the Philippines.

Bullying is a False Report: TECOP

After news of the standoff broke in the Philippines, news outlets of the Southeast Asian country reported that the vessel employed by Taiwan during the incident was the 500-ton guided-missile destroyer ROCS Kee Lung, while the PCG vessel was only 115-tons.

As a result of the class differences, several Filipino nationals have claimed that Taiwan bullied the Philippines in the negotiation for the release of the local fishing boat.

However, the TECOP stressed that claims of threat were false, since the release of the ship was successful thanks to the professionalism and the friendliness of the authorities of both countries.

The TECOP went on to say that the incident was a clear example of the importance of having both countries sign a fishing agreement to guarantee mutual understanding and benefits.

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