Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe confirmed media reports Tuesday that vice fisheries minister Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi visited Taiwan last month but said it was a private trip and Japan’s one-China policy is unchanged.
Miyakoshi meanwhile admitted to reporters he met with Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and senior officials during the three-day visit that started Aug. 15.
Sources said he also met with Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang and Agricultural Minister Su Jia-chyuan.
The vice minister said Tuesday that fishery issues in waters around disputed islets in the East China Sea were among the issues he discussed with Chen and others.
Miyakoshi declined to elaborate, saying, “They were talks in a private capacity and I would like to refrain from going into details.”
Abe told a news conference that nothing had changed in Japan’s position toward Taiwan.
“Regarding relations with Taiwan, Japan’s basic position is, as stated in the joint communique between Japan and China, to maintain a nongovernmental relationship at the working level,” he said. “There is no change whatsoever to this stance.”
Abe answered questions about reports of the visit but would not give any details, saying Miyakoshi’s visit “was not for official duties but a private one.”
Fisheries negotiations between Japan and Taiwan have been suspended as both nations claim sovereignty over Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea called the Senkakus by Japan and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan. China, which calls the islets Diaoyu, also claims them.
During the talks over fishing rights, Miyakoshi proposed that both sides put aside political disputes with regard to sovereignty claims over the disputed islets and use their wisdom and creativity to solve thorny historical problems, the sources said.
Miyakoshi’s proposal has received positive responses from government officials in Taipei, which portrayed it as a pragmatic approach, according to the sources.
China weighs in
BEIJING – China on Tuesday urged Japan to stick to its one-China policy recognizing Beijing as the country’s sole government, after Tokyo confirmed that a vice fisheries minister had visited Taiwan in August.
The Chinese foreign ministry said no official exchanges with Taiwan should be held.
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