Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) yesterday rejected the possibility that Taiwan and China would join hands in asserting sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), an idea proposed by Chinese academics on Wednesday.
“The Republic of China’s position has been that we do not join hands to act together with mainland China in our dealings on the Diaoyutai Islands issue. On this issue, we have our stance and national interests,” Yang said.
A report in the China Daily, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, on Wednesday quoted Zhu Wenqi (朱文奇), a law professor at Renmin University and former member of the International Court of Justice, as saying that Taiwan and China should “work together” against Japan on the issue because they “share the same stance.”
China and Taiwan should together “push Japan to start negotiations and even jointly develop the region with its rich fishing and tourism resources,” Zhu was quoted as saying.
The paper also quoted Feng Zhaokui (馮昭奎), a Japanese studies researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying “the dispute with Japan actually may help to strengthen cross-strait ties.”
On Wednesday, Huang Hsi-lin (黃錫麟) and two other members of the Chunghua Baodiao Alliance, achieved what they described as “a great success” by getting a fishing boat within 0.8 nautical miles (1.48km) of the Diaoyutais, under the escort of five Republic of China Coast Guard Administration (CGA) patrol vessels. The voyage drew a sharp reaction from Japan.
During a standoff with three Japanese patrol ships, Japanese maritime police attempted to get on board the fishing vessel, but were prevented by coast guard personnel. A Japanese patrol ship then bumped into a CGA vessel as the fishing boat was surrounded by the five CGA vessels on their way back to Taiwan, the Coast Guard Administration said.
It was only learned later that the activists carried with them the People’s Republic of China five-starred flag, rather than a flag of the Republic of China (ROC). The footage provided by the alliance showed they tried to raise the flag, but it ended up floating in the sea.
Asked about the flag, Huang said he forgot to bring an ROC one.
China’s reaction to Huang’s stunt came at a regularly scheduled press conference held by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Liu Weimin (劉為民) in Beijing.
“The Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands have been China’s inherent territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. China will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. We have urged the Japanese side not to take any actions that might endanger the safety and property of Chinese personnel, including compatriots from Taiwan,” Liu said when asked for a comment.
Chu Jingtao (褚靜濤), an assistant fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Taiwan History Research Center, reportedly said the event marked the first time both sides of the Taiwan Strait showed an act of tacit cooperation in the fields of politics and diplomacy.
In related developments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei yesterday protested to Japan after learning that six city councilors from Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, inspected waters surrounding Beisiao Island (北小島, known as Kitakojima in Japan).