Taiwan said Friday that it has no fishery cooperation with North Korea, denying a South Korean news report that Taiwanese fishing vessels have been paying North Korea to fish in its waters.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported earlier in the day that North Korea has been allowing Taiwanese fishermen to operate in waters off its east coast in return for funds for its leader, Kim Jong-un, citing a source familiar with North Korean affairs.
The sale of fishing rights allows Taiwanese boats to operate legally within North Korea's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the East Sea, the report said.
According to the report, dozens of Taiwanese fishing vessels have been found to be operating in the East Sea in North Korean waters.
Pyongyang is facing financial difficulties due to increasingly tough international sanctions, the report said.
However, Chen Tain-shou (???), head of Taiwan's Fisheries Agency, said when asked about the report that the government does not cooperate on fishery matters with North Korea and has no plans to seek cooperation either.
Chen stressed that Taiwanese fishing boats hoping to operate in a foreign country's EEZ must obtain approval from Taiwan's fishery agency, along with the approval from the foreign country, before the fishermen set out to fish in that country's EEZ.
Chen made the remarks on the sidelines of a ceremony to award aquaculturists who have raised groupers of the highest quality.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel