Mon. Sep 16th, 2019

Letter to the editor:Taiwan Embassy denies lobbying delay of PNMS implementation

The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) would like to clarify its position in response to the March 5th news article titled “Japan, Taiwan favor delay of marine sanctuary law” that appears on the front page of Island Times.

In December last year, the Senate committee of Resources, Commerce, Trade and Development asked this Embassy to relay Taiwan fishing operators’ comments on the implementation of PNMS, this Embassy did so in a reply email and urged prudence by suggesting “if a great idea like PNMS is difficult to implement amid major economic concerns, it seems wise to let time harmonize contending issues.”

What this Embassy said in that email was to reflect Taiwan fishing operators’ concerns.  It did not, however, have the intention to interfere in Palau’s internal debate on the issue of PNMS implementation.  We regret the above suggestive remarks being misinterpreted as supporting the delay of PNMS implementation, which is actually not accurate.

Currently, Taiwan has 42 fishing boats operating in Palau waters.  Their annual contribution to fishing related incomes in Palau exceeds USD 6.9 million.  Their future operations will be affected by the coming implementation of PNMS in 2020.  That is why this Embassy hopes to bridge a solution that can be accepted by both the ROP Government and Taiwan fishing operators.  If an agreement could be reached by both sides before the end of this year, Taiwan fishing operators can continue to fish in Palau waters and unload their catch in Palau; and Palau can continue to enjoy the economic benefits.

To avoid confusion, the Embassy wish to state its stance clearly that it has no intention to lobby for the delay of PNMS implementation.  Besides, Taiwan has shown its strong support for PNMS over the years including a major contribution of USD one million to the PNMS Fund.  Taiwan will continue to be a supporting partner for Palau’s PNMS policy.

Disclaimer: This is a press statement sent by the Taiwan Embassy in Palau to Island Times. All opinions expressed belong to the sender.