On Apr 9, Representatives from Taiwan and Japan sought to talk over fishing rights disputes around the Okinotori Islands in a bilateral working group. Sources said Taiwan's demand that Japan recognize its fishing rights in the area was rejected.
The first meeting of a Taiwan-Japan fishery cooperation working group was convened in Tokyo on Apr. 9. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement saying that the two parties had differing positions on the Okinotori Islands issue, that a comprehensive exchange of opinions was conducted, and that communication and discussion will continue under the principle of maintaining the friendship and mutual trust of the two sides. However, sources said that the parties had no consensus on whether Okinotori is an atoll or island, and Japan refused Taiwan's demands regarding fishing rights.
==CHEN LIH-TORNG Prof., Inst. Law of the Sea, NTOU==
Japan's assertion that Okinotori is an island, but that has no basis in international law. My understanding is that Korea and the PRC also fish there, without needing Japan to agree.
Academics said that Japan's claim is unsupported by international law, while fishermen wanted the government to step in to protect their rights.
==LIN YUEH-ING Standing Sup., Su-ao Fishermans Assn.==
If negotiations aren't happening, then the Taiwan government needs to take a hard stance. Outside of the 12 nautical mile zone, we could send warships or Coast Guard patrol ships to protect our fishermen.
Regarding Japan's hardline stance, KMT legislators said that the government should not bend on sovereignty issues.
==TSENG MING-TSUNG KMT Legislator==
Since taking office, the Tsai government has always been too pro-Japan. We must stand by our position, particularly in sovereign issues. We cannot give concessions.
==CHAO TIAN-LIN DPP Legislator==
Instead of saying we need to apply more pressure, I think both sides should try to better understand the other. But I am in favor of the government continuing to state a firm position.
DPP legislators say the government should continue to firmly state Taiwan's position. The working group meeting lasted 3 hours; the government has not released details of further exchanges.
TRANSLATED BY：JOHN CHEN
記者 郭采彥 謝其文 台北報導