Wed, Jun 29, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Stand up to Japan: official

CNA , Taipei

To protect its fishermen, Taiwan will have to get tough with Japanese fishermen intruding into Taiwan's economic zone, authorities from the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday.

Speaking at a symposium titled, "The Situation of Taiwan's Peripheral Seas and Relevant Policies," sponsored by the Ocean Business Research Committee, Chang Yuan-hsu (張元旭), director of the MOI Department of Land Administration, said that the central government is determined to address the thorny issue of Taiwan's fishing disputes with Japan.

On the prospects of the approaching 15th round of Taiwan-Japan fishing talks, which is expected to primarily tackle the problems of overlapping exclusive economic zones, Chang said that Japan is not expected to yield much or make its position known in the meeting for fear of agitating China -- whose "one China" policy identifies Taiwan as part of China.

Chang continued to say that even if Taiwan-related affairs are brought to the negotiating table, the Taiwanese negotiating team is at a disadvantage due to the country's abnormal diplomatic status. Taiwan and Japan do not maintain official diplomatic relations.

However, Chang said that if Japanese fishermen experienced the same miserable treatment that has been suffered by Taiwan fishermen, Japan would have a different attitude at the talks.

Chang said a viable strategy for Taiwan could be to take tougher measures against Japanese fishing boats, such as impounding their vessels and fining the boat owners for trespassing on Taiwan's exclusive economic zone, to prevent losing leverage in the upcoming talks.

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