Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

ANALYSIS: Academics have mixed outlooks on fishery accord

IMPLICATIONS:There are conflicting viewpoints on whether the pact compromises Taiwan’s claim to sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands and if it sets a preceden

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

In the absence of diplomatic ties, it was “difficult” for Japan to agree to the accord and the inclusion of the “disclaimer clause,” said Ho Szu-shen (何思慎), an associate professor of Japanese literature at Fu Jen Catholic University.

The signing of the accord reflects the great importance that Japanese Prime Minister Shino Abe has attached to Taiwan, and its implications go beyond just the bilateral relationship, Ho said. By having Taiwan jointly manage the designated fishing zone, Japan does not need to confront China head on in case of the latter’s maritime surveillance ships entering the waters near the islands, he said.

“China would not risk sabotaging cross-strait rapprochement by not reining in unwanted behaviors that could tensions,” he said.

The pact was a Japanese gesture of goodwill “in the hope that Taiwan can keep its distance from China on Diaoyutai issues,” Ho said.

The accord has earned Taiwan a role in territorial disputes, but whether it can get China to respect the agreement remains to be seen, he said.

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