Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) yesterday invited President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to join him in setting foot on Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), saying Ma should use concrete action and shoulder his obligatory responsibility as the head of the state to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty over the disputed islands.
“The long-running disputes surrounding the Diaoyutais are a pressing matter of national sovereignty. What the nation needs at a time of [growing sovereignty threats] is a president with fortitude and spine,” Lin said.
The island group, located in the resource-rich East China Sea, has been at the center of escalating disputes between Taiwan, Japan and China for years because of conflicting claims over the region.
Comparing Ma’s inaction and empty talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s (李明博) Friday visit to another disputed island group — known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese in the Sea of Japan — Lin said Ma should take substantial action and make a more unequivocal statement to defend Taiwan’s ownership over the area.
“As Taiwan’s president, Ma represents the country and its people and should therefore shoulder the top responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty,” Lin said.
Lin said that at present, the ownership of the Diaoyutais was registered under the National Property Administration as a part of Yilan County’s Toucheng Township (頭城).
However, the government has yet to carry out any action to defend its jurisdiction, Lin said.
“Not only has the government failed to assign an agency to oversee the region, no concrete action has been taken to assert the nation’s jurisdiction over the islands,” he said.
If the central government is unable to take action, it should transfer ownership of the island group to local governments, Lin said, vowing to find a way “to hang a Republic of China [ROC] address plate on the islands.”
“In addition to assembling a team of my own, I would also invite Ma and the armed forces to set foot on the islands with an ROC flag, or a county flag, in our hands, to declare the country’s unquestionable sovereignty,” Lin said.
Commenting on the planned visit by a small group from the World Chinese Alliance in Defense of the Diaoyu Islands to the region, Lin said that if the group plans to defend the country’s sovereignty by merely chanting slogans and waving flags, it would achieve little more than draw some international attention.