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New foreign minister hopeful on resuming fishing talks with Japan

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/03 16:06:17

Taipei, Oct. 3 (CNA) Foreign Minister David Lin, appearing at his first press conference since assuming his post, praised the state of communications between Taiwan and Japan and was hopeful that a new round of bilateral fishing talks would be held soon.

"Communications between the two sides now flow without any obstructions," the new foreign minister said when speaking of Taiwan's ongoing negotiations with Japan on the reopening of fishing talks between the two countries.

The ministry hopes the talks can take place as early as possible, and Japan has expressed the hope that the two sides submit an agenda in the shortest period of time, said Lin, who took the post Sept. 27.

Taiwan and Japan have held 16 rounds of talks on Taiwanese fishing boats' operations in waters close to the disputed Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea, most recently in 2009, without reaching an agreement.

The talks have been complicated by a sovereignty dispute over the islands, which are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China but are currently controlled by Japan.

Tensions were ratcheted up on Sept. 25 when Taiwanese fishing boats sailed to within three nautical miles of the Diaoyutais and accompanying patrol boats traded water-cannon fire with the Japanese Coast Guard.

Attempting to resume the fishing talks is seen as one way of disarming tensions in the region.

The waters surrounding the Diaoyutais have been an important fishing ground for Taiwanese fishermen for more than 100 years, but their boats have been chased away by Japanese Coast Guard vessels when fishing in those waters in recent years.

(By Angela Tsai and Elizabeth Hsu)

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