Sat, Oct 20, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Legislature demands firm island stance

SOVEREIGNTY CLAIMS:The KMT had previously blocked a controversial Diaoyutai Islands proposal, but adopted a neutral stance yesterday in the plenary session

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The legislature yesterday passed a non-binding resolution requiring the government to make a solemn declaration to countries involved in “illegal” sovereignty claims over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) that the islets belong to the Republic of China (ROC) and that it will never budge from that position.

The People First Party (PFP) motioned to pass the resolution at the plenary session yesterday.

According to the non-legally binding resolution, the government of the ROC is required to fulfill the constitutional obligation to protect the country’s territory.

The resolution said that the Diaoyutai Islands remained within Taiwan’s jurisdiction and were part of the territory of the ROC.

From the perspectives of location, geological composition, history, continuous activities and relevant legal bases, the territorial claim is indisputable, it said.

The passage of the resolution signaled to the international community that the ROC government was mandated by lawmakers across party lines representing Taiwanese to declare sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands to the world, lawmakers said.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union and the Democratic Progressive Party co-initiated the proposal.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which blocked the proposal from being placed on agenda when the PFP first put it forward on Oct. 5, yesterday adopted a neutral stance.

When the opposition parties tabled a motion to deliberate the resolution in the plenary session, the KMT did not raise an objection.

None of the 64 KMT lawmakers was present at the session speaking in support for the proposal when it went through its second and third reading.

The uninhabited Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, lie about 120 nautical miles northeast of Taipei. They are also claimed by Japan and China.

The long-simmering dispute came to a head last month after Japan attempted to reinforce its sovereignty claim over the island chain by buying three islets from their private owner on Sept. 11.

In his National Day address on Wednesday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reaffirmed his administration’s resolve to defend sovereignty over the Diaoyutais and fishing rights, as well as to promote regional peace.

Additional reporting by CNA

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