TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The annual Taiwan-Japan maritime affairs cooperation meeting got underway in Taipei on Monday afternoon (Dec. 2).
Taiwan and Japan have in recent years come up with several platforms for officials to discuss issues of mutual concern, remarked Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), chairman of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, at the opening ceremony ahead of the closed-door meeting. However, Chiou acknowledged that some “problems” remain, without specifying what they are.
Chiou said he hoped both sides would balance their own national interests and show understanding to solve the problems that he characterized as being somewhere between “serious” and “minor.” If the issues are properly addressed, relations between the two countries will be further strengthened; if not, there may be “unnecessary unpleasantness,” added Chiou.
Japanese officials and their Taiwanese counterparts have conducted constructive discussions since the first Taiwan-Japan maritime affairs cooperation meeting took place three years ago, said Mitsuo Ohashi, chairman of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association. He expressed confidence the two countries could settle the complex issues in front of them and keep the “big picture” in mind.
This year’s meeting is focused on having discussions, without the pressure of signing any agreements, an official familiar with the situation told CNA on Monday morning. The source added the two countries would exchange ideas on maritime security, scientific research, marine conservation, and fisheries.
Initiated in 2016, the annual meeting is held alternately in Taipei and Tokyo. Officials from the two countries’ government agencies typically attend the meetings.