Thu, Aug 16, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Diaoyutai essay competition panned

CLUELESS?Asked about the essay competition, KMT Legislator Ma Wen-jun said she could not help but wonder whether the government had run out of ideas

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters, with AFP, TOKYO

“We hope the Japanese government can face up to the facts of history. [The visit] hurt the feelings of its neighboring countries. Japan should refrain from actions which could cause negative perception of its image,” Hsia said.

Earlier yesterday, a group of about 100 people gathered in front of the building where the Interchange Association, Japan’s representative office in Taiwan, is located in Taipei to submit a three-point statement.

The protesters, composed of members of the Chinese Association for Protecting the Diaoyutais and the Chinese Unification Alliance, called on Tokyo to stop what they called its invasion of the Diaoyutais, for Japanese officials not to visit the Yasukuni Shrine and for Japan to reflect on its role in World War II.

They staged the protest after their plans to team up with the pro-China activists on their voyage to the islands was “thwarted” by the government.

An official at the Interchange Association received their petition, but the association offered no comment.

Separately yesterday, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said the government had provided food supplies to the pro-China activists on the Bao Diao II for humanitarian reasons.

According to the Coast Guard Administration, Keelung Harbor received requests from the vessel in the early hours of Tuesday morning when the ship was near Badouzih (八斗子), off Taiwan’s northernmost tip.

Coast guard personnel boarded the ship and provided the activists with frozen meat, vegetables and drinking water, then left after making sure that the vessel was seaworthy and they had sufficient oil on board, the administration said.

Meanwhile, the DPP said that while Ma’s East Sea Peace Initiative was in line with its longstanding position, diplomatic relations between Taipei and Tokyo should be the priority and Taiwan should not cooperate with China on the issue.

In response to Ma’s initiative, which he announced earlier this month, the DPP announced its “one reaffirmation and five positions” on the Diaoyutais.

“The DPP reaffirms that the initiative is in line with the longstanding position of the party and it’s not too late for Ma to adopt the same policy,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.

Lin said the party’s five basic principles on the dispute were a peaceful resolution, avoidance of escalated conflict, a priority on Taipei-Tokyo diplomatic ties, non-collaboration between Taiwan and China on the issue and for the government to match its words with deeds.

Lin also criticized the ministry over the essay contest.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the top priority in dealing with the dispute was to avoid conflict and to protect the rights of Taiwanese fishermen.

People are concerned about Ma’s handling of the issue because he promotes peace on the one hand, while creating conflict by sending coast guard vessels to escort a fishing boat full of activists waving the People’s Republic of China flag on the other, Su said.

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said Taiwan needs to learn to deal with the dispute “in a more mature way.”

Ma’s past comments, in which he said Taiwan could resort to military action to resolve the dispute, were a “joke,” Hsieh said.

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