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New Taiwan “ambassador” to Japan indicates willingness to discuss Okinotorishima issue

  • May 5, 2016
  • , Yomiuri , p. 6
  • Translation

By Yuko Mukai

 

The Tsai Ing-wen administration will be launched in Taiwan on May 20. Former Executive Yuan President Frank Hsieh, who has been appointed the next head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Japan (the equivalent of ambassador to Japan), gave an interview to Yomiuri Shimbun in Taipei on May 4.

 

Commenting on the Taiwan authorities’ protest against the Japan Coast Guard’s detention of a Taiwanese fishing boat in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near Okinotorishima (in Ogasawara Village, Tokyo), Hsieh said: ”While (the Taiwan authorities) have the responsibility to protect the fishermen, this is also a security issue. It should be resolved through discussion.” In connection with this issue, the Taiwan authorities claim that Okinotorishima is a “rock,” so an EEZ cannot be set up around it. Government ships were sent to the island, which resulted in Japan lodging its protest.

 

Hsieh pointed out that Okinotorishima is located between the “first island chain” set by China from the Nansei Islands to the Philippines and the “second island chain” from the Ogasawara Islands to Guam. While he did not mention China by name, Hsieh said that “everyone knows the strategic importance (of the Okinotorishima area),” indicating that it is undesirable to heighten tension.

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