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Opposition Parties Criticized the Government on Fishery Agreement

Mar 20,2000
On March 20, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the fisheries agreement between Korea and China, provisionally signed in November 1998, emerged as an issue in Korea's election campaign.
The Grand National Party (GNP) and the Democratic People's Party (DPP) criticized the government's saying that this MOU was a mistake and has dealt a blow to Korean fishermen because they are not allowed to fish in the East China Sea near the Yantze River, and so the has government ignored the livelihood of millions of fishermen.
However, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries [MOMAF] said, "The Chinese law that set up a no-fishing zone near the Yangze was enacted in March 1999, after our signing of the MOU. The MOU cannot have an impact on the existing agreement."
The GNP pointed out, "Our government authorities did not examine the contents of the then Chinese laws, and did not grasp China's move to revise the laws. It is a decisive diplomatic mistake, for the authorities were lazy about the obligation of caution."
Suh Chung-won, the head of GNP's campaign headquarters, criticized the government saying, "The current government forced millions of fishermen to lose their livelihood through a slipshod fisheries accord with Japan. Then it went ahead and made another mistake, forcing our fishermen to lose a lucrative fishing zone in the East China Sea."
An MOMAF official insisted, "During the negotiations, we asked China to provide us with Chinese domestic laws by which we need to abide, and a Chinese representative explained about the Yantze River coast's rest and protective zone system. It is recorded in the proceedings." Yet, the ministry did not make the proceedings public, claiming that it cannot be open to the public.
Kim Won-gil, chief policymaker at the Millennium Democratic Party's election headquarters, said, "The matter of fishing in China's exclusive economic zone must be solved in the future through negotiations."




by Lee Yang-soo




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