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Third Taiwan, Japan fishing talks to be held on Thursday

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The third meeting of a joint Taiwan-Japan fishing commission is scheduled to be held in Taipei on Thursday to address issues related to the regulation of fishing operations in the two countries' overlapping waters in the East China Sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Before the official meeting, representatives from Taiwan's Association for East Asian Relations (亞東關係協會) and Japan's Interchange Association (四本交流協會) will hold a round of preparatory meetings today, according to a statement released by MOFA.

Both the preparatory and official meetings are closed-door meetings and will not be opened to the media, it noted.

The goal of the meeting is to establish order in a designated area of the East China Sea, in which Taiwanese and Japanese fishermen are allowed to operate, MOFA said.

The first meeting took place in May 2013 in Taipei, while the second was held on Dec. 26, 2013 in Tokyo.

During the Dec. 26 meeting, the two sides remained divided on fishing operations in their overlapping waters in the East China Sea, but agreed to continue negotiations on the issue in future talks, MOFA said.

The Taiwan-Japan fishing commission was established as part of an agreement signed April 10, 2013 by Taiwan and Japan on fishing rights in the waters of the East China Sea near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan.

The agreement designates an area in the East China Sea that is claimed by both sides as waters where fishing by both Taiwanese and Japanese vessels are allowed around the disputed island chain, MOFA previously said.

The pact gives Taiwanese fishermen an additional 4,530 square kilometers in which they can operate free of harassment by the Japanese authorities, it said.

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