No timetable for next round of Japan fishery talks: gov’t

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

The China Post–Taiwan and Japan are trying to find common ground in the hope of resuming a platform for bilateral fishery talks that have been suspended since 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. But so far no timetable has been announced on when to resume the next round of talks that are aimed at finding a solution to fishing rights issues between the two sides, a MOFA official said. Speaking at a regular briefing yesterday, Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), deputy secretary-general of the MOFA’s Association of East Asian Relations, said the Taiwan-Japan fishery talks were first launched in 1996, with the last round taking place in 2009 in Tokyo.

But sharp differences remain between the two countries despite years of effort, with both sides yet to reach a consensus on when to hold the next round of talks, he said. “The talks will be resumed when the time is ripe,” he said, adding that consensus needs to be reached before any more progress can be made. The biggest disputes between the sides concern the sovereignty controversy surrounding the Tiaoyutais and the overlapping economic zones that are claimed by both countries, Su said. Taiwan and Japan, however, have now agreed to put aside the two major rows so that they can soon return to the negotiation table, he added. The Tiaoyutais or Tiaoyu Islands, located about 100 nautical miles off Taiwan’s northeastern tip, are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan. The island group is known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan. Su said the next round of talks, once held, is expected to focus on working out a joint management mechanism in settling bilateral fishery disputes and to ensure sustainable fishing.