Thu, Apr 28, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh confirms his appointment as envoy to Japan

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh yesterday attends the Democratic Progressive Party’s Central Executive Committee meeting at the party’s headquarters in Taipei.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday confirmed he would be appointed representative to Japan, adding that his mission would be to enhance cooperation between the two countries, but that he would not form any anti-China alliance with Japan.

Although it has long been an “open secret” among political circles and the media, Hsieh officially confirmed the appointment in an exclusive interview with the Nikkei Shimbun published yesterday.

In the interview with the Japanese newspaper, Hsieh said the appointment was significant for two reasons: First, it shows that president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attaches great importance to the relationship between the two countries; and second, appointing a nonprofessional diplomat means that Tsai does not expect many problems between Taiwan and Japan.

He said in the interview that the incoming government hopes to make Taiwan a buffer zone between Japan and China, adding that the new government “would neither form an alliance with China against Japan nor form an alliance with Japan against China.”

Separately yesterday, Hsieh, in response to media queries, said that although there are disputes between Taiwan and Japan, the two nations should solve the problems without jeopardizing friendly relations.

“As to the dispute over sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), I would say that the Diaoyutais belong to Taiwan, but the point is to solve the fishing issue for our fishermen, because they are disadvantaged and should not be sacrificed for political interests,” Hsieh said.

“That is why we eventually signed a fishing agreement with Japan,” he said.

Asked to comment on Japan’s recent seizure of Taiwanese fishermen near the Okinotori atoll in the Pacific Ocean, Hsieh said that both the executive and the legislative branches have handled it well.

“Premier Simon Chang (張善政) spoke about it, as did Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), while Japan soon released the fishermen,” Hsieh said.

“Now we should look at the fishing agreement we signed to see what we could improve to better take care of fishermen,” he said.

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