Wed, Sep 26, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Yang, Imai meeting on Diaoyutais yields little progress

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Tadashi Imai, left, president of the Japan Interchange Association, the de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan, shakes hands with Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang as they discuss the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, known in Japanese as the Senkaku Islands, in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Mandy Cheng, AFP

The meeting between a Japanese envoy and outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) yesterday over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) made no breakthrough after two hours of talks, according to a statement by the ministry.

Tadashi Imai, president of the Interchange Association, Japan, Tokyo’s de facto embassy in the absence of official diplomatic relations, arrived in Taipei yesterday on a mission to explain the reasons behind Japan’s nationalization of three islets in the Diaoyutai, known as the Senkakus in Japan, on Sept. 11, a move that sparked the row.

The meeting began at 3:15pm and ended at 5:20pm.

The ministry issued a seven-point statement at 9:50pm, in which it said Yang demanded Japan “rescind” the decision to nationalize the islets and take a serious attitude toward the “serious consequences” of its unilateral action.

There is no way the Republic of China would accept Japan’s nationalization policy, it said.

Taipei recalled the nation’s representative to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳), in protest the day after the purchase was announced.

Ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said it has not been decided when Shen will return to his post in Tokyo.

Reporters from local and Japanese news outlets were waiting for Imai at Taipei Songshan Airport when he arrived at noon, yelling questions in vain to seek his views on the issue and leaving an airport staff member slightly injured in the hustle.

During the first five minutes of the meeting, which was open to the media, Imai and Yang shook hands, while Imai was left no chance to speak to the press before they were asked to leave.

Imai was again approached by reporters before he left the ministry building, and again, he did not utter a word about the meeting.

In his opening remarks, Yang said the visit was the “right approach” by the Japanese government to handle relations with Taiwan, but he added that he “regretted” that he had to receive Imai as a guest “under this kind of circumstance.”

Yang told Imai that Taiwan very much appreciated Taiwan-Japan cooperation in all fields, but it would remain unyielding in regards to sovereignty over the islands.

“I hope that you can understand the solemn position of the Republic of China and convey the message back to Japanese government,” Yang said.

Additional reporting by Chris Wang

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