Japan may up Taiwan fishing rights off islets

Kyodo

Japan has agreed in principle to allow expanded fishing by Taiwanese boats in disputed waters of the East China Sea, Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin said Wednesday.

“They are willing to extend the fishing area, which we hope will be clearly drawn in longitude and latitude coordinates,” Lin told reporters at the foreign ministry. “As for how big the area will be, that is the focus of bilateral negotiations.”

Lin attributed long-standing fishing disputes between Taiwan and Japan in the contested waters off the Senkaku Islands, known as Tiaoyutai in Taiwan, to the lack of clear lines of demarcation.

“We hope both sides can reach an agreement on the zoning of the operating area so the living resources and interests of the fishermen will be well protected,” he said.

Japan administers the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

Japanese and Taiwanese officials met in Tokyo last week — the second round of preparatory talks, following the first held last Nov. 30 — to prepare for resuming talks on fishing in the contested waters, agreeing to speed up the process to reach an early agreement.

Lin said Taiwan hopes the third round of preparatory talks will be held at the end of this month or beginning of next month.

The preparatory talks are aimed at setting the agenda, time and place for a formal meeting, which Lin has said could be held as early as spring if all goes well.

Since Taiwan and Japan began fishery talks in 1996, 16 rounds have been held, but none since February 2009 due to a row between Taipei and Tokyo over the sovereignty of the disputed islets.

Taiwan has proposed to Japan that a jointly controlled area be created off the islets so Taiwanese boats can fish in the restricted area, which Japan claims as part of its exclusive economic zone.

  • Delphine

    This should be used as an opportunity as a break in the stand off between Japan and China. As any examination of the San Francisco treaty would show, Taiwan is the actual territory that holds sovereignty of those islands; islands a mere 100 km off the coast of Taiwan and nowhere near Japan or China. Until now it has felt like two wolves and one sheep deciding what’s for dinner.

    • justice_first

      Delphine,

      If you look at an even earlier Treaty, the Treaty of Shimonoseki 1895, you will notice that Taiwan, as recognized by Japan, is a part of China. In 1945, Japan returned Taiwan to the ROC, which was then the sole representative of China.

      It is evidently clear, under international law, Taiwan is a part of China, and the PRC is the sole representative of China from 1972.

    • justice_first

      There is a need to clarify one question: between PRC and ROC, who “owns” the islands ?

      Both the PRC and the ROC were not signing parties to the San Francisco treaty (1951) and the treaty itself did not make any reference to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Since the PRC succeeded the ROC as the sole representative of China in 1972, therefore the PRC is the legal representative of China. There is currently a dispute between China and Japan on who owns the islands.

      Taiwan is not a sovereign entity recognized in the UN, not recognized by Japan. The same thing apply to the ROC.

      Japan is committed to negotiate with the PRC only, not the ROC, not Taiwan, on any matter of sovereignty. Fishing right is of course one of them.

  • Nomoremaos

    This completely makes sense. Taiwan should have the right to access the islands. However, keep China away, they’ll destroy the pristine area as they they’ve done in their own country.