Jun 10, 2013

Taiwan: Relations With Japan A Role-Model For Regional Peace

The recently signed fishery agreement between Taiwan and Japan has been considered to be a role-model for trade agreements between countries with conflicting interests. 

Below is an article by Focus Taiwan

The way Taiwan and Japan reach consensus on sensitive issues could become a model for cooperation between countries and further improve regional peace, the chairman of the Taipei-based Association of East Asian Relations said Friday [7 June 2013].

Lee Chia-chin, head of the association that handles Taiwan's interests in Japan in the absence of diplomatic ties, said that a recently inked fishery agreement between the two countries shows that it is possible for cooperation despite conflicts of interest.

"Taiwan and Japan hit a home run in their highly complicated relations," Lee said, referring to a pact that defines the countries' respective fishing rights in overlapping territories in the East China Sea and allowed an expansion of Taiwan's fishing grounds.

Besides helping Taiwan and Japan to shelve their differences and jointly explore resources in the disputed area, the agreement signed in April [2013] helped the two sides to set up a bilateral fishing commission to deal with other issues related to fishing, mainly near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands.

The way Taiwan and Japan work with each other could be applied to other regional issues as well, Lee said.

For instance, Taipei and Manila could follow a similar pattern to settle fishery disputes, he said.

"If the Philippines wants to show goodwill, it should study the way Taiwan and Japan sealed their fishery deal," he said.

A diplomatic row erupted between Taiwan and the Philippines after the Philippine authorities strafed a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, while it was operating in the overlapping economic waters of the two countries.

Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng was shot dead in the incident.

Besides a formal apology, compensation to the family of the victim and punishment for the perpetrators, President Ma Ying-jeou has demanded that both sides kick off fishery agreement talks as soon as possible.