Taiwan, Japan still negotiating details of fisheries meeting

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan and Japan are still negotiating the details of the first meeting of a bilateral fishing commission to address issues related to fishing in disputed waters in the East China Sea, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.

“The two sides are still negotiating on the matter,” ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said.

Kao’s remarks came after Japanese media recently reported that the two-day meeting was set to open yesterday in Tokyo.

The establishment of the commission is part of an agreement signed on April 10 by Taiwan and Japan on fishing rights in the two nation’s overlapping territories in the East China Sea, mainly around the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.

The pact came after on-and-off negotiations for nearly 17 years.

The commission consists of four members — two from Taiwan and two from Japan, according to the agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Taiwanese and Japanese boats can operate freely within a 74,300km2 area around the Diaoyutais, the Fisheries Agency said.

The agreements gives Taiwanese fishermen an additional 4,530km2 in which they can operate free without being harassed by the Japanese authorities, the agency said.

According to the agreement, the commission would also deal with other issues related to fishing in the disputed waters. It is set to meet annually, with additional meetings convened as necessary.

Fisheries Agency Director-General James Sha (沙志一) said in an earlier interview that the first meeting of the commission would be held by the end of this month.

Issues to be discussed include how to enhance mutual trust and establish a system to make fishery resources sustainable, as well as how Taiwan and Japan could regulate the operations of their own fishermen in the waters covered by the agreement, he said.