The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that Taiwan and Japan are still negotiating on the date for a second meeting in preparation for a new round of bilateral talks on fishing rights near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the two countries are still negotiating over the date and agenda of the second preparatory meeting, adding that they hope the meeting will close a gap opened by the previous meeting.
Wire reports said tension in the disputed island chain in the East China Sea — which Japan calls the Senkakus — could be escalating after Chinese military planes recently approached an area north of the islands and flew inside Japan’s air defense identification zone, prompting Japan to scramble fighter jets in the area.
In response to the matter, Su said Tokyo intends to continue fishery talks with Taiwan and he forecast that the talks will not be affected by the tensions between China and Japan.
Taiwan and Japan held their first preparatory meeting in late November last year in Tokyo in an effort to restart a new round of formal fisheries talks, which would be the 17th round since 1996.
The two countries made little progress at the meeting last year, but said they would continue to negotiate with sincerity and goodwill so that a second preparatory meeting can be convened.
The uninhabited island chain, which lies about 100 nautical miles (185km) northeast of Taiwan, is said to sit atop valuable mineral resources is surrounded by rich fishing grounds.