The government reiterated that the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) are part of the Republic of China (ROC) and outlined its historical case supporting the claim to counter Japan’s efforts to nationalize the archipelago.
“We hope the Japanese government will clearly see the historical truth and not take any actions that could undermine the peaceful situation in East Asia,” the Executive Yuan said in a statement.
“The Republic of China will not recognize the validity of the so-called purchase deal between the Japanese government and the private owner,” it said.
The Executive Yuan asserted that the ROC’s sovereignty over the island group is an indisputable historical fact.
China mentioned the Diaoyutais as early as 1403 in historical documents and they were listed as part of China in Chinese and foreign maps in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Executive Yuan said.
Historical documents have also shown that Chinese people first found, named and used the land and that they were not uninhabited islets.
The Executive Yuan said the Japanese government has been trying to take over ownership of the Diaoyutais since 1885 and that it secretly ordered an inspection of the island group to set up a “national marker” there.
However, Okinawa Prefecture head Sutezo Nishimura reported that the island group had been named by China and used for many years and he suggested a delay in the project, arguing that it was not appropriate to set up national markers, the Executive Yuan said.
According to the government, the territory is now under the jurisdiction of Yilan County, which registered the Diaoyutais as national land in accordance with the Land Act (土地法) in January 2004 and listed the total area as measuring 612 hectares spanning 61 parcels of land.
According to current land values, posted by the government in January this year, the Diaoyutai Islands are worth NT$190 per square meter, or a total of NT$1.16 billion (US$39.1 million).
The Japanese government’s purchase of three of the Diaoyutai Islands from a private owner on Tuesday has sparked condemnation in Taiwan.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) traveled on Friday last week to Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼), located 141km west of the Diaoyutais, to symbolically protest Japan’s move and reassert the ROC’s sovereignty over the archipelago.