Mon, Feb 04, 2013 - Page 8

Foreign Ministry responds

In response to your article, US “report raises questions over cross-strait ties,” that appeared in the Jan. 30 edition of the Taipei Times (page 1) and which cited a recent report by the US Congressional Research Service titled Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to offer the following clarifications:

1. In the section on Taiwan’s role in the East China Sea, the report says that “Taipei’s officials have denied cooperating with the PRC [People’s Republic of China] on the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) issue.” However, contrary to the facts, your article says that the report “suggests that US Congress should examine cooperation between Beijing and Taipei in the East China Sea.” The report makes no such suggestion. It was merely referring to an argument made by some analysts.

2. Our government has always maintained a clear-cut position on the sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutais, which is to shelve the dispute and jointly develop resources. In other words, while sovereignty is indivisible, resources can be shared. The Diaoyutais are islands appertaining to Taiwan and are therefore an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China. As such, our position remains firm: We will absolutely not cooperate with China on this issue.

3. The waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands have been a traditional fishing ground for Taiwanese fishermen for more than a century. When the Japanese government harasses our fishing boats and jeopardizes the rights and interests of our fishermen in violation of international law, the Coast Guard Administration is obligated to protect our fishermen.

4. In order to maintain regional peace and stability given the escalating tensions over the Diaoyutai Islands, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has proposed the East China Sea peace initiative, which urges all concerned parties to exercise restraint, shelve controversies, resolve disputes in a peaceful manner and jointly explore and develop the resources in the East China Sea.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs