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Trade ties with Japan unaffected by disputed island row: minister

TAIPEI--Taiwan and Japan will continue their economic cooperation despite the new friction that has developed in aterritorial dispute, Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said yesterday.

“Industrial cooperation between Taiwan and Japan will not behampered by the dispute since such collaboration is beneficial toindustries on both sides,” Shih told reporters. None of the initiatives in progress have been affected, he added.

Shih disclosed that Taiwan and Japan are working out details of amemorandum of understanding on economic cooperation to advancebilateral economic ties.

Without elaborating on the content of the MOU, the minister said it will benefit the industrial sectors of both sides in the long term.

The minister's remarks came after Taiwan's government filed astrong protest against Japan's decision to nationalize the TiaoyutaiIslands earlier in the day. The uninhabited Tiaoyutai island chain iscontrolled by Japan but is also claimed by Taiwan and China.

The Japanese government bought three of the five Tiaoyutai Islandsfrom private owners at cost of 2.05 billion Japanese yen (US$26million) Tuesday and signed a contract with the owners to cement thedeal, according to Japanese media.

The Tiaoyutai Islands, called the Senkakus in Japan and the DiaoyuIslands in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan.

On the ongoing negotiations for Taiwan's Hon Hai Group, theworld's largest contract electronics maker, to acquire a stake inJapan-based Sharp Corp., Shih said the companies each have their ownopinions and need time to work out the deal.

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