Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (
Cho said that Taiwan annually chases more fishing boats out of the disputed area than Japan does.
"Some have said that they will begin to hang China's national flag on their boats. I would urge them not to do so, because it will become difficult for us to protect them," Cho said.
He made the remark after local fishermen aired their problems with the government at a press conference yesterday morning.
The fishermen complained that the government was too weak to protect them while they were in the area. They said they were considering to rather fly China's national flag on their fishing boats to avoid trouble with Japanese patrols.
"It will become complicated and difficult for us if Taiwan's fishing boats begin to fly China's national flag," he said.
Cho added that Japan has chased away or confiscated more fishing boats from China than from Taiwan.
"Over the past year, 38 Chinese and 120 Korean fishing boats were either kicked out or confiscated by the Japanese government, while 11 Taiwanese fishing boats were targeted," he said.
"Expecting help from the Chinese government on this issue is merely wishful thinking," Cho said.
He said that Taiwan has chased away more fishing vessels in the region than any other nation.
"Our boats, including those of the coast guards and navy, kicked out more than 10,000 boats in the past year. So we did do our job to enforce the law within our territorial waters and to protect our fishermen in our economic areas," he said.
Regarding the conflict between Taiwanese fishermen and the Japanese government, Cho said that the government has submitted a letter of complaint to the Japanese government.
As for the dispute between Taiwan and Japan about the overlapping economic areas, the Cabinet spokesman said that both governments will try to solve the problem through negotiations.
He also urged fishermen not to protest against Japanese patrol vessels when they encounter them at sea to avoid potential injuries or loss.
"It is impossible for a fishing boat to fight against an armed patrol vessel. We want to end this dispute, but we want to end it peacefully," Cho said.
The current dispute was sparked on June 8, when a Japanese patrol boat drove away more than 10 Taiwanese fishing boats from an area about 150km northeast of Taiwan that is claimed by both the Taiwanese and Japanese governments. Taiwanese fishermen complained that, although the coast guard's vessels rushed to the scene, they did nothing.
On June 9, approximately 50 Taiwanese fishing boats returned to the area and surrounded a Japanese patrol boat in protest. No further conflict occurred.