Minister of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) David Lin (林永樂) yesterday vowed not to include a fishing license agreement in a treaty with Japan to resolve fishing disputes in overlapping territorial waters around the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the event that such a pact was signed.
Lin said that a third preparatory meeting for a new round of fisheries talks between Taiwan and Japan could be held by the end of this month.
The minister made the remarks to lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.
Tokyo promised not to interfere with Taiwanese fishing boats operating near the disputed islands — which are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan, which calls them the Senkakus — since the first preparatory meeting was held in November last year, and it has thus far kept its word, Lin said.
Taiwan and Japan have held 16 rounds of formal talks about fishing rights in the overlapping territories since 1996, but with little results. The most recent talks were concluded in 2009.
Following the first and the second preparatory meetings, Lin said that Tokyo agreed to allow Taiwanese fishermen to operate in a bigger area than it currently tolerates within the temporary enforcement line set unilaterally by Taiwan in 2003.
Japan has relented on its position that the fishing grounds be separated by a “geographical middle line,” but both sides need to engage in further negotiations to decide how to delineate the area, Lin said.