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Minister denies snag in Taiwan-Japan fishery talks preparations

ROC Central News Agency

2012/11/07 15:07:04

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Taiwan and Japan continue to hold consultations on the schedule and agenda of a new round of bilateral fishery talks in hopes that a preliminary session can be held by the end of November, Foreign Minister David Lin said Wednesday.

Lin denied reports that preparations for the 17th round of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks have hit a snag because of Taiwan's insistence on its sovereignty claim to the Diaoyutai Islands.

"There is no such thing," Lin said in a telephone interview, noting that the two sides are still discussing the agenda for the 17th round of fishery talks and the date for a preliminary session for the talks.

Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese daily, reported Wednesday that the sovereignty dispute has hindered the opening of the 17th round of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks.

The Japanese paper said Taiwan has not only insisted on its sovereignty claim to the Diaoyutais but also demanded that the sovereignty dispute be stated in an official document to be issued at the end of the new round of fishery talks.

Asahi Shimbun said the Japanese government is not expected to agree to such a requirement.

Lin denied that Taiwan has made such a proposal and said the two sides are still discussing issues to be addressed at the new round of fishery talks.

"We have presented some suggestions and Japan has offered responses," Lin said, adding that negotiations are still ongoing and have not broken down.

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

Taiwan and Japan have held 16 rounds of talks since 1996 on fishing rights in waters near the disputed island cluster but have failed to reach agreement because of their conflicting claims.

The long-simmering row came to a head in September after the Japanese government tried to "nationalize" the Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, by buying three of the islets from a private owner to reinforce its sovereign claim.

President Ma Ying-jeou has proposed a East China Sea Peace Initiative that calls for shelving disputes and cooperating among interested parties in exploring resources in the Diaoyutai areas for mutual benefits.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia Wu)

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