Japan set to lure Taiwan on its side in territorial sea dispute with China

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 23, 2013 11:00 hrs

In an attempt to lure Taiwan on its side in the struggle against China over territorial sea dispute, Japan is set to give it fishing rights to waters around a set of disputed islands.

Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lin has revealed Tokyo is willing to extend the fishing area to Taiwanese boats, though the boundaries have yet to be worked out.

It would be a rare concession in a bitter territorial dispute that involves heavyweight China and has the United States on guard, the Christian Science Monitor reports

Taiwan has sought such a deal since 1996 as it vies with Japan and China for control of eight uninhabited islets that anchor a massive, strategic swathe of the sea rich in fish and believed to hold reserves of oil and natural gas, it said.

If the deal goes through it could mean that Japan, which has not conceded any territory since the end of World War II, wants Taiwan on its side in the struggle against China over the disputed ocean, the paper added.

Japan controls the islets and would make the fishing area concession to Taiwan, not China, though Beijing has put pressure on Japan with airplanes, boycotts, and mass street protests, it reported.

Japan, the world's No. 3 economy, wants better relations with No. 2 China but is locked in the islet dispute and a list of others stemming from the World War II era.

In a showdown in January over the islets that Tokyo calls the Senkaku and China calls the Diaoyu, Japan raised its defense budget as China sent military planes.

Meanwhile, US officials, who rely on East China Sea shipping lanes, have urged calm, the paper concluded. (ANI)

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