Taiwan's top official in charge of fisheries on Thursday reaffirmed the country's fishing rights in the waters near Japan's Okinotori Atoll and vowed to protect those rights.
Agriculture Minister Tsao Chi-hung (???) made the remarks at a legislative session after the two countries failed to reach agreement on fishing rights at a maritime affairs meeting held in Tokyo on Oct. 31.
Tsao said that Taiwan has the right to fish in the open sea surrounding the atoll, which is 1,600 kilometers east of Taiwan. However, Japan claims the atoll is an island, which would entitle it to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
Tsao said the government remained firm on the right of Taiwanese fishermen to operate in waters 12-200 nautical miles from Okinotori and undertook to take responsibility for any incident involving Taiwanese fishermen operating in the area.
Tsao was responding to concerns that Taiwanese fishermen might not be able to fish in the area during the peak fishing period next month due to the ongoing disagreement over fishing rights between the two countries.
Taiwan has consistently asserted that fishing vessels from Taiwan have the right to operate in waters near Okinotori and will continue to hold talks with Japan to address the issue, Tsao said, adding that Taiwanese fishermen definitely have the right to fish in the area.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel