With the high season for fishing in disputed waters in the East China Sea beginning this month, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) yesterday expressed optimism over a fishery treaty being signed between Taiwan and Japan in the near future.
Following a second meeting on March 13 in preparation for a new round of bilateral talks between Taiwan and Japan on fishing rights, which would be the 17th round of talks if held, both sides recently held an informal meeting and the negotiations have “made significant headway,” Lin said.
Lin did not provide details, but said that the ministry continued to insist in talks with Japan that Taiwanese fishermen should be able to operate in a bigger area than is currently the case within the country’s temporary enforcement line and that Japan must refrain from interfering with Taiwanese fishing vessels.
He said both sides have been working on details about the delineation of fishing grounds and that “results could be expected in a few days.”
Taiwan and Japan have held 16 rounds of negotiations on the issue since 1996, the most recent of which was conducted in 2009, with few results.
Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Director-General Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠) said that both sides wished to have a third preparatory meeting as soon as possible.
Su said Taiwan and Japan could skip a third preparatory meeting and hold a formal round of talks if both sides reach sufficient agreement on delineation in informal meetings.