Japan and Taiwan agreed to allow Taiwanese fisherman access to Japanese administered waters near islands also claimed by China, which objected to the deal.
The agreement is aimed at furthering peace in the East China Sea, said Mitsuo Ohashi, head of the Japan Interchange Association that serves as the de facto embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic ties. The agreement covers an overlapping economic zone and doesn’t involve areas that the two sides both claim is their territory, Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin said today.
“We are seriously concerned over Taiwan’s signing relevant fishery agreements with other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a briefing in Beijing today. “We hope the relevant country can truly honor its commitment on Taiwan-related issues and prudently handle such issues.”
The deal comes seven months after Japan’s Coast Guard used water cannons to drive off about 50 Taiwanese boats near uninhabited islands claimed by both governments as well as by China. The dispute intensified after Japan bought the islands in September, prompting protests in China and damaging a $340 billion trade relationship between Asia’s two biggest economies.
Taiwanese activists have tried to land on the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, to assert sovereignty. China also considers Taiwan a renegade province.
Planes and ships from China and Japan have shadowed each other for months around the islands, which lie in an area rich in fish, oil and natural gas.