The main task of Taiwan Representative to Japan Shen Ssu-tsun following his return to Tokyo Oct. 4 is to push for the restart of bilateral fishery talks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Shen-yeaw Ko said Oct. 8.
Shen was recalled to Taipei Sept. 12 for consultations over recent friction between the two sides related to Japan’s plan to “nationalize” the Diaoyutai Archipelago.
The ROC representative office is currently in negotiations with the Japanese side on relaunching the talks, Ko said, adding that when related details are discussed the ministry will coordinate with the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Agency.
Ko made the remarks while answering questions before the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.
Huang Ming-lang, a senior MOFA official, said fishing operations in waters where the two sides have overlapping claims will be the crux of the talks, although negotiations will not be limited in scope.
Huang noted that Japan has proposed restarting fishery talks on three occasions within the past month. Following previous reservations, Japan has expressed willingness to discuss fishing operations in overlapping waters, including delineating areas where Taiwan fishing vessels can operate, he said.
He reiterated that the Taiwan government will not join hands with mainland China over the issue of the Diaoyutais, noting that Taiwan has sovereignty over the archipelago and will protect the rights of Taiwan fishermen during talks with Japan.
Separately, MOFA spokesman Steve C.C. Hsia said the Japanese side hopes to discuss fish stock conservation issues, including setting seasonal and species catch limits to ensure sustainability, topics that the ROC is also interested in discussing.