MAC declares protection of fishermen is priority

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Nov 03, 2012 - Page 3

Taiwan has sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea and the protection of its fishermen operating in the disputed waters is its priority, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said, responding to remarks by Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅), who said on Wednesday that Taiwanese fishermen have no need to worry that their fishing rights will be squeezed by China’s moves to assert its territorial claim over the island group.

Yang said such worries “are completely unnecessary,” and China’s vessels will continue to safeguard fishing rights near the island group and “provide assistance to fishermen on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

The Diaoyutais are currently administered by Japan, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

The MAC reiterated that the Republic of China holds sovereignty over the island group and said all related parties should put aside their differences and jointly develop the resources there.

It also mentioned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) East China Sea peace initiative which advocates a two-stage approach of holding peaceful dialogue and cooperating on exploring resources in the disputed area.