Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said the self-ruled island's navy and coastguard would protect Taiwanese fishermen and ensure their fishing rights, but would not condone any illegal behaviour, after the military held a drill with the coastguard aimed at protecting fishermen. The official Central News Agency quoted Ma as saying he urged fishermen to abide by international law and related fisheries regulations. Ma made the remarks during a news conference after inspecting the drill held in waters off Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. The navy dispatched one Chengkung-class frigate, one La Fayette-class frigate, one Chingchiang warship and four Kuang Hua VI fast-attack missile boats, while the coastguard sent four vessels to participate. The air force also deployed one P-3C anti-submarine aircraft and one EC225 rescue helicopter to take part in the drills, which included simulated scenarios of a Taiwanese fishing boat being chased by an unknown vessel, a stand-off between a coastguard vessel and another unknown armed boat, and maritime emergency care. It was held just two days after Taiwan's ministry of foreign affairs announced the signing of a fisheries agreement with the Philippines to address fishing disputes in their overlapping economic waters. The president said he was pleased the agreement had been signed. He said it was in line with his South China Sea Peace Initiative, which calls on all parties concerned to shelve differences and jointly explore resources. It will help reduce the possibility of disputes, he added. The Agreement Concerning the Facilitation of Cooperation on Law Enforcement in Fisheries Matters, concluded November 5, contains seven articles and includes three important points of consensus that have already been implemented - avoiding the use of violence or unnecessary force, establishing an emergency notification system, and setting up a prompt release mechanism.