President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will lay out the details of his “East China Sea peace initiative” when he visits an islet near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) today, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said.
The main item on the president’s itinerary during his visit to Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼) will be a speech on the action plan for a peace initiative he put forward last month to resolve the sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutais,” Fan Chiang said.
Ma announced the initiative on Aug. 5 amid escalating spats among neighboring countries over the uninhabited island chain.
While reaffirming Taiwan’s claim to the Diaoyutais in his five-point initiative, the president also called for all claimants to shelve their differences, pursue peace and reciprocity and jointly explore the resources in the area.
Located about 185km northeast of Taiwan in the East China Sea, the Diaoyutais are now controlled by Japan, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
The dispute over the cluster of islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, sparked a diplomatic row between Japan and China after activists from Hong Kong and Japan made separate landings there last month to ramp up their countries’ sovereignty claims.
Ma’s visit to Pengjia Islet, which lies 61km off Taiwan’s northernmost tip and 141km west of the Diaoyutais, also comes amid media reports that the Japanese government has decided to buy three islets in the Diaoyutai chain from their private owners to underscore its claim.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard Administration said it would dispatch seven vessels to patrol the waters off the nation’s northern and northeastern coasts and conduct emergency rescue drills to ensure the president’s safety during today’s trip.