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Taiwan hopes to resume fishery talks with Japan in November: official

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/08 15:23:59

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Taiwan is hoping to resume its long-stalled fishery talks with Japan around November, despite their current territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands, a high-level Taiwanese official said Monday.

"We hope to schedule the talks around November" but need to discuss the details further with Japan, said the foreign affairs official who requested anonymity.

The issues on the agenda may include how to preserve fishing resources and more difficult matters such as establishing fishing boundaries with Japan, the official said.

However, an agreement on the issue of fishing boundaries could take some time, the official added.

Taiwan is also hoping to discuss with Japan provisional measures to ensure that Taiwanese fishing boats will be able to continue operating in Diaoyutais waters free of from interference from Japanese coast guard authorities, the official said. This will be central to the next round of talks, the official added.

Taiwanese fishing boats have not been harassed by Japanese as frequently in recent years since Taiwan laid down the temporary law enforcement boundaries in the disputed area, according to the official.

Taiwan and Japan last held talks on fishing rights in their overlapping territories in 2009. Since then the talks have been stalled due to differences on how to resolve the cross-border fishery disputes.

Meanwhile, Taiwan is also hoping to strengthen its cooperation with Japan on Pacific Ocean resources in regional fishery management bodies, the official said.

To that end, both sides could sign an agreement or a memorandum of understanding, the official said.

Japan had proposed resuming the fishing rights talks with Taiwan in early October, in a positive response to the East China Sea Peace Initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou to settle the Diaoyutais dispute, according to Su Qi-cheng, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

But the plan was derailed by escalating tensions between the two sides since Japan moved to nationalize the Diaoyutais by buying three of the islets Sept. 11.

In response, a flotilla of 75 Taiwanese fishing boats, escorted by coast guard vessels, sailed close to the islets Sept. 25 to assert Taiwan's sovereignty over the archipelago and their right to fish there.

The action led to an altercation between Taiwanese and Japanese coast guard vessels that involved the use of water cannons.

The uninhabited Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. They have been under Japan's control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

(By Elaine Hou)
ENDITEM/ pc




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