Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday expressed his support for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) handling of the dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), but said that an assertion of Taiwan’s sovereignty over the area should be prioritized.
“Taiwan-Japan relations have been fast growing for the past years and are at their best now. Taiwan should especially value this hard-earned friendship,” Wang said.
Given the complexity of the Diaoyutai issue, which involves wrangling between Taipei, Tokyo and Beijing, asserting Taiwan’s territorial claim over the island group should be made a top priority, Wang said, expressing confidence that Ma would handle the matter in the way most beneficial to the nation.
Wang made the remarks after he left Central America for Los Angeles on Monday, where he was due to visit the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Los Angeles and the Taiwan Center Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, a non-profit group that promotes Taiwanese culture and heritage.
Wang’s visit to the foundation marks the first visit to the organization by a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweight, according to Democratic Progressive Party western US headquarters director Jerome Cheng.
Accompanied by Representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles Representative Kung Chung-cheng (龔中誠), Wang met Chinese-language journalists based in the city on Monday night.
Meanwhile, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official in Taipei said Taiwan does not recognize any unilateral move or argument by Japanese officials on the Diaoyutais.
From the perspectives of geography, history and international law, “it is indisputable that we hold sovereignty over the Diaoyutais,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said.
Hsia was responding to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, which said Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara was proposing that Japan build a telecommunications base, a port and a meteorological station on the disputed islands.
“Without such things, we won’t have effective control of them [the islands],” the paper quoted Ishihara as saying in a recent interview.
“We absolutely do not recognize any unilateral claims or actions by Japanese politicians of the ruling or opposition parties over the Diaoyutais that will affect our sovereignty,” Hsia said.