Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Maritime talks with Tokyo to start this month

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Association of East Asian Relations yesterday expressed the hope that its first dialogue with Japan on maritime cooperation later this month could boost relations between Taipei and Tokyo, adding that it does not rule out convening the bilateral dialogue more than once a year.

The association is in charge of handling ties with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations, with its counterpart, Japan’s Interchange Association.

At a routine news conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Association of East Asian Relations Secretary-General Peter Tsai (蔡明耀) said the first bilateral meeting of the Taiwan-Japan Maritime Affairs Cooperation Dialogue Mechanism is set to be held in Taipei later this month.

“While the date has been set, we will not announce it at the moment. As for the location, it will be in Taipei, but we are still looking for a suitable venue,” Tsai said.

Tsai said the issues to be discussed during the first dialogue include fisheries cooperation, marine environment protection, emergency relief at sea and marine scientific research.

Other issues might also be touched upon during the meeting should both sides agree to include them on the agenda, Tsai said.

Taipei and Tokyo will take turns hosting the bilateral dialogue, which is scheduled to take place annually, Tsai said, adding that if necessary and with the permission of both sides, more meetings could be held.

Asked whether the Okinotori atoll dispute would be brought up during the dialogue, Tsai said the issue would be one of the subjects on the agenda.

“However, this matter is only one of the many issues to be discussed during the bilateral dialogue. There are many other issues in addition to fisheries cooperation involved in Taiwan-Japan ties,” Tsai said, expressing the hope that the dialogue mechanism could bring the two nations closer and further expand their cooperation.

The dialogue mechanism was established in May after relations between the two nations became strained when the Japan Coast Guard seized a Taiwanese fishing boat operating about 150 nautical miles (277.8km) east-southeast of the Okinotori atoll on April 25.

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