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Central News Agency

2005-06-21 16:47:52

    Taipei, June 21 (CNA) The deployment of a Knox-class frigate on Tuesday to disputed waters in the East China Sea will not lead to conflict between Taiwan and Japan, Michel Lu, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said Tuesday.

    Lu noted that the 15th round of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks, which is scheduled for July, will not be affected by the deployment.

    The two countries are in the process of setting a date for the talks, the official said at a news conference at MOFA headquarters.

    MOFA was originally scheduled to call an interministerial meeting Tuesday to work out strategies for the planned fishery talks. But the meeting was postponed after Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Ying-mao Kau, who was to preside over the event, was busy with other business, and the ministry is also considering inviting scholars and representatives of the judicial sector to attend the meeting.

    The upcoming negotiations will be centered on seeking reasonable ways to settle disputes over fishing rights of Taiwan and Japan, both of whose 200-mile exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea overlap, according to MOFA.

    The 4,200-ton frigate, "Fengyang, " has been sent to patrol the country's northeastern economic waters, with Minister of National Defense Lee Jye and Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng, as well as several lawmakers, on board to inspect the navy's patrol missions off Taiwan's east coast and how it assists in protecting local fishermen operating in the disputed waters.

    The cruise is considered part of the response of the Ministry of National Defense to a legislative demand for the ROC Navy to be more active in its assistance in protecting fishermen's rights to operate in the waters.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)


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