Taiwan, Japan to hold first round of maritime talks

Foreign Minister David Lee has announced that Taiwan and Japan will discuss maritime issues at a meeting in Tokyo scheduled for Monday. The talks will be the first held under a mechanism the two sides have set up to discuss maritime issues.

Talks were originally set to begin in July but were postponed to allow more time for preparation.

Taiwan and Japan plan to use the mechanism to discuss cooperation in areas such as scientific investigation and environmental protection. But the talks on Monday are also expected to cover a dispute over fishing rights in waters near Japan's Okinotori atoll.

Fishing rights near the atoll have been a sticking point since April, when Japan seized a Taiwanese fishing boat in the area. Japan says the atoll is an island and claims a 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding it. However, Taiwan says that the atoll does not meet the criteria for an island under international law, and that the fishing boat was seized in international waters.

On Thursday, Lee told lawmakers that Taiwan will press for the rights of its fishermen at the meeting.

Source: Radio Taiwan International