Sun, Jul 03, 2005 - Page 3 News List

MOFA prepares for fishing talks

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will host an inter-ministerial meeting next week to coordinate the government's actions ahead of the next round of fishery talks with Japan, a ministry official said yesterday.

Ministry officials will also visit legislators before the talks to hear their opinions on the matter, according to spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍).

Lu reiterated that the government will fight for the best interests of the country and seek to resolve the fishery dispute between Taiwan and Japan in a pragmatic and flexible manner.

The 15th round of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks is scheduled for July 29 in Tokyo. A preparatory meeting will be held in Tokyo on July 12.

At the heart of the dispute is the sovereignty claim over the Diaoyutais. The island group is claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.

The previous 14 rounds of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks did not make significant headway because Taiwan was not willing to forsake its sovereignty claim to the Diaoyutais, which Japan has held since 1972.

Both Tokyo and Taipei claim that the island group falls within their exclusive economic zones. Japan often fines ship owners and impounds Taiwanese fishing vessels that enter waters close to the Diaoyutais.

The dispute came into the limelight again recently after some 50 Taiwanese fishing boats staged a rare protest in the disputed waters following the latest expulsion of fishermen from the area.

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