Taiwan hopes to sign an agreement with Japan on fishery rights as soon as possible, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday in the wake of a report that Japan hopes to ink the deal in the first half of this year.
“We hope to have it [the agreement] signed as soon as possible,” ministry spokesman Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said.
He made the remarks in response to a report published on Wednesday that said Japan’s representative to Taiwan, Sumio Tarui, expressed hope in a speech in Taipei that Taiwan and Japan can ink a fishery agreement no later than the first half of this year.
Taiwan and Japan held a preparatory meeting in November to discuss a resumption of formal fishery talks to address the issue of fishing rights in the waters surrounding the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea, Hsia said.
No timetable has been set for the next meeting, although Taiwan and Japan have a common goal of resuming talks as soon as possible, he said.
The previous 16 rounds of talks, dating back to 1996, failed to deliver concrete results, but Taiwanese officials have expressed hope that progress will be achieved when talks resume.
Taiwan and Japan last held talks on fishing rights in their overlapping territories in 2009, but discussions have been stalled since then.
Taiwanese fishermen consider the waters near the Diaoyutais as their traditional fishing grounds, but are routinely chased away by Japanese authorities when venturing too close to what Japan sees as its territorial waters.