News / Asia

Japan Makes Concession to Taiwan in E. China Sea Dispute

Ralph Jennings
Japan gave Taiwan an unusual break this week in a stubborn ocean territorial dispute that also involves China. The first-ever concession met with applause in Taipei and a word of warning from Beijing. Japan controls the waters, but China and Taiwan both make unwavering claims.
 
Taiwan had pushed Japan for expanded fishing rights since 1996, vying with Tokyo and China for control of a massive stretch of the East China Sea believed rich in fisheries and natural gas.
 
On Wednesday talks reached a breakthrough, when Japan agreed to give Taiwanese fishing boats unconditional use of 4,530 more square kilometers of contested ocean.
 
The fisheries concession does not affect Japan’s four decades of control over the contested sea area, which is anchored by eight uninhabited islets. But the move signals that Japan wants relatively small Taiwan on its side, not China’s.
 
China has sent planes and allowed destructive mass protests to assert its claim since last year, when Japan nationalized the disputed islets it calls the Senkakus.
 
Nathan Liu, international affairs professor at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, says Japan was afraid Taiwan would team up with China.
 
"I think it’s because of what happened last year, because of the nationalization of the Senkaku islands, and China became more aggressive," he said. "So Japan worried about the cooperation between Taiwan and China. So that’s the reason why they compromised a little bit.”
 
China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, urged Japan Wednesday to follow its pledges to recognize only one China and carefully handle issues involving Taiwan. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and forbids its 170 diplomatic allies, including Japan, from activity that suggests Taiwan is a separate country.
 
Taiwan’s relations with China have improved since 2008 despite Beijing’s claims of sovereignty and Taiwan’s continued self-rule, though officials in Taipei say they are not allied with Beijing in the maritime dispute.
 
Japan, the world’s third largest economy, already spars with China, the second largest, on a host of other political and historical issues. Japan considers Taiwan a close informal ally, especially during heated disputes with China.
 
The fisheries breakthrough was received well in Taiwan, where President Ma Ying-jeou has been criticized for doing too little on diplomacy.
 
Anna Kao, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry in Taipei, says the fisheries deal followed Taiwan’s efforts to improve ties with Japan.
 
She says Taiwan has been gradually pushing for improved relations with Japan and only on that foundation were the two sides able to reach consensus on fishing rights.  
Taiwanese fishing boats have historically trawled the disputed waters that are 222 kilometers east of Taipei but would be turned away by Japanese coast guard vessels.

Local media reported that the fishing industry was ecstatic about the rights deal as about 800 vessels make their way to the disputed ocean area every year.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid