Taiwan’s Foreign Minister David Lin has proposed a jointly controlled provisional measure zone in the East China Sea so that both Japanese and Taiwanese fishermen could go about their business in the overlapping exclusive economic zones.
The two countries have been involved in 16 rounds of bilateral talks since 1996 but they were temporarily put on hold in February 2009 due to a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands between Japan, China and Taiwan. They planned to restart the fishery talks in October but when the Japanese government announced the purchase of some of the islands in Senkaku, they decided to postpone the resumption of the talks.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou then proposed an initiative for a peaceful settlement and joint development and management of the East China Sea, which is an area that has huge potential for gas and oil. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda agreed to reopen the talks during a meeting with former Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok on Sept. 8-9.
But Noda last month said that some terms and follow-up action of the proposal are unacceptable but warrants further review to fully understand the “fundamental thinking and spirit” of the initiative. Minister Lin said that there has been a few responses to their new proposal, but nothing final. He is hoping for a preparatory meeting this November and that preparations for the next round of formal fishery talks will already begin.