Thu, Apr 11, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan, Japan ink fisheries agreement

DIAOYUTAI ISLANDS:Taipei pushed for the inclusion of an escape clause stating that the pact does not have any bearing on the two countries’ sovereignty claims

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Under the agreement, Taiwan and Japan also agreed to establish a fisheries commission to discuss other issues, including the delineation of overlapping waters in their respective exclusive economic zones above 27º north latitude and waters south of Sakishima Islands, on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, China yesterday expressed concern about the new agreement.

“We are extremely concerned about Japan and Taiwan discussing and signing a fishing agreement,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) told a daily news briefing.

“We hope that Japan earnestly abide by its promises on the Taiwan issue and act cautiously and appropriately,” she said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

History of negotiations

‧ First two rounds of negotiations, 1996: Both sides insisted on their respective sovereign claims over the Diaoyutai Islands and did not have substantial discussions about fisheries issues.

‧ Third round of negotiations, 1997: Working-level discussions began about fishing grounds, but delimitation was not discussed.

‧ Fourth, fifth and sixth rounds of negotiations, 1998 to 2000: Taiwan proposed that a commission be set up to co-manage fisheries in the area and that fishing grounds be delimited based on “equitable principle.” Japan rejected the proposals.

‧ Seventh to 15th rounds of negotiations, 2000 to 2005: Taiwan demanded co-management of waters below 27o north latitude and that Taiwanese fishermen have the rights to fish in waters between 27o north latitude to 29o18’ north latitude, because this is within Taiwan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan rejected the proposal and wanted to negotiate based on the principle of a “geographic median line.” It also rejected Taiwan’s claim to fish in waters above 27o north latitude because the area was marked as a zone of joint control between China and Japan in their bilateral fisheries agreement signed in 1997.

‧ Sixteenth round of negotiations, 2009: Consensus was reached on four general principles to deal with disputes on fisheries issues. No substantial discussions on delimitation were held.

Prepared by staff reporter Shih Hsiu-chuan

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