The government is negotiating with Japan over the nation’s fishing rights in the waters surrounding the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, adding that he hoped this could yield substantial results in the near future.
Accompanied by Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉), Wang Chin-shih (王進士), Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥) and Chien Tung-ming (簡東明), Ma made the remark during a visit to the Coast Guard Administration’s (CGA) inspection office in Donggang Township (東港) in Pingtung County.
After listening to a brief report on the office’s administrative achievements last year, Ma attended a luncheon with coast guard personnel, during which he touted the agency’s efforts in safeguarding the safety of Taiwanese fishermen operating in waters near the Diaoyutais, also known as the Senkakus in Japan.
“Amid increasing tensions in the South China Sea, the CGA was able to offer timely assistance to a group of Taiwanese fishermen heading from Suao [蘇澳], Yilan County, to the Diaoyutai Islands [in September] last year in an effort to assert the nation’s sovereignty over the disputed archipelago,” Ma said.
Its assistance not only helped bring the privately initiated mission, which triggered an exchange of water-cannon fire between Taiwanese and Japanese patrol vessels, to a peaceful end, but also earned plaudits from Taiwanese fishermen, Ma said.
“It is a nation’s obligation to guarantee the safety and rights of its fishermen, which is something the CGA has been doing through non-military means since its establishment 17 years ago,” Ma said.