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Ministry denies sovereignty issue prevents Taiwan-Japan fishery talks

Publication Date : 08-11-2012


Taiwan and Japan are still discussing holding preparatory meetings before a 17th round of bilateral fishery talks can take place, and the ongoing dialogue has not been stalled by Taiwan's position on sovereignty, Foreign Minister David Lin said yesterday.

“Both sides are still holding talks on the possible resumption of the fishery rights talks soon,” Lin told local media, adding that Taipei still hopes to hold the next round of talks with their Japanese counterparts this month, he added.

The foreign minister made the comments in response to a Japanese-language report yesterday that said the ongoing bilateral talks have hit a snag because Taiwan insists it has a sovereign claim to the Diaoyutai Islands.

President Ma Ying-jeou's insistence on demanding Tokyo recognise the existence of a sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutais is the main obstacle that prevents the next round of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks from taking place, the Asahi Shimbun said.

Quoting Japanese sources close to the matter, the report said Ma summoned Minister Lin and other cabinet officials for a meeting earlier this month.

During the meeting, Ma demanded that mention of the sovereignty dispute be included in an official document to be issued at the end of the current round of fishery talks, the report said.

However, Taipei's proposal seemingly runs counter to Tokyo's long-held stance that the Diaoyutais, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, are its inherent territory.

The Japanese government is not expected to agree to this proposal. This divergence of positions ensures that the 17th round of talks is unlikely to happen soon, it said.

Asked to comment, Lin yesterday denied that Taiwan put forward such a demand and said the two sides are still discussing the agenda for the new round of fishery talks.

“We have presented some suggestions and Japan has offered responses,” Lin said, adding that negotiations are still ongoing and have not broken down.

Taiwan and Japan have held 16 rounds of talks since 1996 on fishing rights in waters near the disputed island cluster but have failed to reach agreement because of their conflicting claims.


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