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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05TAIPEI2530
2005-06-10 01:29:00
CONFIDENTIAL
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

TAIWAN/JAPAN TERRITORIAL DISPUTE IN FISHING GROUNDS

Tags:   SENV  EFIS  TW  PREL  ESTH 
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100129Z Jun 05
						C O N F I D E N T I A L TAIPEI 002530 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/RSP/TC, OES/OA - ROBERT SMITH
STATE PLEASE PASS TO COAST GUARD AND AIT/W

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2015
TAGS: SENV EFIS TW PREL ESTH
SUBJECT: TAIWAN/JAPAN TERRITORIAL DISPUTE IN FISHING GROUNDS


Classified By: ait Director Douglas Paal, Reason: 1.4 (B/D)



1. (C) Summary. On June 8, five Taiwan fishing vessels
fishing in the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islands area were expelled
by Japanese patrol ships. In response to the Japanese
action, Taiwanese fishermen staged a protest sending a fleet
of 40 fishing vessels to the region. The Taiwan Coast Guard
intervened and ended the protest. This incident is one in a
series of such incidents in the region. While officials will
not want to be seen as unresponsive to the interests of
Taiwan's fisheries sector, the government clearly does not
want this relatively minor dispute to spoil the overall
strong cooperative relationship between Taiwan and Japan.
Taiwan Coast Guard Minister Syu Huei-you told reporters on
June 9 that the incident should be settled through dialogue
and consultations. End Summary.



2. (U) On June 8, five Taiwan fishing vessels fishing in the
Diaoyutai region (a disputed territory among Taiwan, Japan
and the PRC approximately 20 nautical miles off of Taiwan's
northeastern coast) were expelled by Japanese patrol ships.
In response to the Japanese action, Taiwanese fishermen
staged a protest sending a fleet of 40 fishing vessels to the
region, which intercepted a Japanese patrol vessel for about
an hour. After several of Taiwan's Coast Guard vessels were
sent to the disputed area, the Taiwan fishing vessels vacated
the area and the protest ended peacefully.



3. (U) This is only one in a series of incidents between
Japanese authorities and Taiwan fishing boats in the
Diaoyutai region. According to the Taiwan Fisheries Agency,
since 2000, Japan has detained a total of 156 foreign vessels
fishing in the area, including vessels from: Korea, PRC,
Russia, Taiwan and Cambodia. In 2004, 30 fishing vessels
were detained, eight of which were from Taiwan. In 2005,
three Taiwan vessels were detained. One of those vessels and
its 9 member crew have yet to be released.



4. (C) In an effort to resolve this ongoing dispute, Japan
and Taiwan have discussed this issue during 14 separate
bilateral meetings on fishing issues since 1996. On June 9,
Premier Frank Hsieh and Taiwan Coast Guard Minister Syu
Huei-you separately told reporters that the current incident
should also be settled through dialogue and consultations
rather than confrontation. The Fisheries Agency announced
that Taiwan is currently working on setting up a 15th
bilateral fisheries meeting with Japan.



5. (C) Comment: Taiwan officials have told AIT that they see
Taiwan-Japan Coast Guard cooperation as one of the most
successful elements of Taipei's efforts to engage in pol-mil
cooperation with Tokyo. On June 8, the same day as the
fishing boat incident, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chief
Secretary Jan Jyh-horng told AIT that the Japanese Coast

SIPDIS
Guard had just agreed to provide assistance to its Taiwan
counterpart on how to react to PRC incursions into waters
around the disputed Pratas island in the South China Sea
(Septel). While Taiwan does not want to advertise this sort
of cooperation publicly, in part to avoid offending the
Taiwan fishing industry, we expect Taipei to exert a full
effort to resolve this latest dispute as quickly and as
amicably as possible. End Comment.
PAAL