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Taiwan, Japan to hold dialogue on maritime affairs

ROC Central News Agency

2016/10/27 21:15:14

Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) Taiwan and Japan will hold a dialogue on maritime affairs cooperation in Tokyo on Oct. 31, Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said on Thursday.

Topics will include Taiwanese fishermen's activities around Okinotori, a 9-square-meter uninhabited Pacific atoll that Japan controls, Lee said in a committee meeting in the Legislature.

Tokyo claims the atoll is an island and argues it is therefore entitled to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. Earlier this year, it arrested and seized the fishing boat of a Taiwanese fisherman fishing in the nearby waters, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Taiwan's government had said at the time that the atoll cannot possibly be considered an island because it's around the size of two queen size beds and cannot support economic life. Therefore Japan is not entitled to an exclusive economic zone and Taiwanese fishermen should be free to fish in the area, the then government had argued.

Lee said the objective of the dialogue is to resolve maritime affairs between the two countries, including fishing disputes, rescue operations at sea and marine scientific research.

Tsai Ming-yao (蔡明耀), secretary general of the Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR), will lead Taiwan's delegation, which will be comprised of officials from the Fisheries Agency, Coast Guard Administration, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and National Security Council, according to a MOFA news release.

Chiu I-jen (邱義仁), chairman of the AEAR, will also be present at the meetings, the news release stated.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Kuo Chung-han)

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