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ROC envoy to Japan returns to post

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/04 20:50:26

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) Taiwan's representative to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun, returned to his post in Tokyo on Thursday to resume his official duties, which include promoting bilateral relations.

Shen, who was recalled Sept. 12 in protest over a move by Japan to nationalize the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, briefed the press on his work agenda, prior his departure for Tokyo.

"I'll give priority to preparing for a 17th round of fishery talks with Japan to protect our fishermen from being harassed by Japanese coast guard in waters near the Diaoyutais," Shen said.

He said he will first have to negotiate with Japanese authorities on the the date and agenda for the new round of fishery talks. To his knowledge, he said, both Taiwan and Japan intend to resume the long-stalled bilateral fishery talks.

In addition, Shen said, he will step up promotion of the "East China Sea Peace Initiative" proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou on Aug. 5 to address the Diaoyutai territorial dispute.

The initiative called for claimants to the Diaoyutais to put aside differences, refrain from escalating tensions, pursue dialogue, seek consensus and cooperate in formulating a code of conduct.

Located some 100 nautical northeast of Taiwan, the Diaoyutai island chain in the East China Sea has been under Japan's administration since 1972, but is also claimed by Taiwan and China.

The long-simmering territorial spat has escalated since Japan's bought three of the islets from a private owner in an attempt to reinforce its sovereignty claim.

Chinese vessels have repeatedly entered waters around the small islands in recent weeks and coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan fired water cannons at each other in the Diaoyutai waters last week.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement reiterating Taiwan's stance on safeguarding sovereignty over the Diaoyutais and protecting fishing rights in waters surrounding the island cluster.

The statement also reaffirmed the government's commitment to continue promoting economic cooperation and cultural exchanges with Japan.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia Wu)

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