By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Premier Simon Chang slammed Japan Tuesday over its detention of a Taiwanese fishing crew based on claims over a reef which was only “three tatamis large.”
The Japanese coast guard stopped the Tung Sheng Chi No.16 fishing boat from Pingtung County early Monday, claiming it had been just 150 nautical miles from the coral reefs of Okinotori, which is 9 square meters large.
Taiwan has disputed Japan’s interpretation that the island can be inhabited, thus claiming a 200-mile exclusive economic zone in which it can detain fishing vessels from other nations.
Chang said Tuesday the Taiwanese ship had been operating in international waters, and Japan had no right to board it and detain the 10-member crew. He reportedly said Okinotori was only “three tatamis large,” a reference to the Japanese straw mats which are also used as a unit of measurement.
International law recognized the area as a reef, but certainly not as an island, the premier said. [FULL STORY]