Representative to Japan Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳) returned to his post in Tokyo last night, three weeks after he was recalled in protest over Japan’s nationalization of three islets in the Diaoyutai Island (釣魚台) chain, which is also claimed by Taiwan and China.
“I believe both sides have a willingness to engage in a new round of bilateral talks on fishing rights in the disputed waters,” Shen told reporters before his flight at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport).
Shen said he was tasked by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to actively negotiate with the Japanese government to settle the date and agenda for the talks, which would be the 17th round of such talks if they were held.
The East China Sea peace initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in early August will also be high on his agenda, Shen said.
He said he would enhance efforts to forge a path for the realization of the goals outlined under the initiative that all concerned parties set aside their differences over conflicting claims of sovereignty and instead engage in peaceful dialogue to jointly explore potential resources in the region, Shen said.
Shen said the problems related to the Diaoyutais dispute were difficult to resolve, but he hoped they would not hinder people-to-people exchanges so both sides could continue to develop mutual interests.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee earlier yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) told lawmakers that the reason for Shen’s return to his post was “simple.”
“There are a lot of things that need to be done to advance Taiwan-Japan relations, especially preparations for [a possible] 17th round of talks on fisheries issues,” Lin said.
Shen was asked recalled to report to the government and the legislature on the Diaoyutais and this task had been completed, Lin said.