Taiwanese armed forces have a full grasp of the situation in the waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea and have various contingency plans in place concerning the territorial disputes in the are, Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday.
Xinhua news agency reported that two groups of Chinese surveillance ships had already arrived in waters around the islands early yesterday in a move to assert that country’s sovereignty claim.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK also reported that eight Chinese ships had entered an area near the Diaoyutais — known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan. Six of the vessels had even entered what NHK described as Japanese waters.
However, with a typhoon approaching the area, the media said all six Chinese ships had left the 38.6km zone around the Diaoyutais by yesterday evening.
Responding to the reports, Lo said the Taiwanese military has been keeping close tabs on the situation.
The government has also conducted an in-depth analysis of the situation in the region and has devised response guidelines, Lo said.
The long-simmering territorial spat flared anew after the Japanese government bought three of the Diaoyutai islands from their private owner earlier this week. Taiwan recalled its envoy to Japan to protest Tokyo’s nationalization of the islands.
In a move to ease tension with Taiwan, the Interchange Association, Japan, which represents Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, issued a statement on Thursday in response to the East China Sea peace initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to resolve the row.
Japan thinks it is important to push forward substantive cooperation projects to make the East China Sea a “sea of peace,” the statement said, adding that Taiwan is an important partner of Japan’s, with close economic relations.