The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will hold a coordination meeting on Tuesday to forge a consensus on fishery talks with Japan, due in about two weeks, a ministry spokesman said Friday.
The ministry has invited legislators and representatives of the fishery industry to take part in the meeting, along with officials from the foreign ministry, the Ministry of the Interior, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), the Council of Agriculture and the National Security Bureau, the spokesman said.
Stressing that it is better to deal with the recent fishery disputes through diplomatic channels, the spokesman said that the government hopes to create a consensus on the issue in preparation for talks with Japan that will be held later this month or early next month.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Lai Ching-te (
Lai said that deploying military escorts to the scene of the fishery disputes would only create difficulties in bilateral negotiations.
He said that the coast guard should send patrol ships to protect Taiwanese fishing boats in the waters claimed by both Taiwan and Japan before the fishery talks can reach a conclusion.
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (
Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) decided on Thursday to send military ships as escorts next Tuesday for fishing boats that will operate off Suao, Ilan County near the edge of Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone.
Lin said that it is natural for the defense ministry to help the coast guard protect fishermen because the CGA doesn't have enough big ships to patrol the area.
According to Lin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) ascribed Japan's willingness to come to the bargaining table to recent protests staged by Taiwanese fishermen.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Joanna Lei (雷倩), Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Tsao Shou-min voiced their support for the government's moves to claim territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, which are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China.
They suggested that President Chen Shui-bian (
Meanwhile, KMT legislators Shuai Hua-min (
Shuai said the basic cause of the fishing dispute was the dispute over sovereignty of the Diaoyutais.
Su Chi called on President Chen to get tougher, and to invoke Article 17 of the Referendum Law (
According to Su, many politicians and parties in the past have said Taiwan should protect its claim over the islands. These, he said, included both President Chen and Premier Frank Hsieh (