Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday that the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea are inherent territory of the Republic of China and added that the government “will not back down on any sovereignty issue.”
Lin’s remarks came after tensions in the region escalated after US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talked about Washington’s policy toward the island group in a Jan. 18 news conference.
Clinton said the US does not have a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, but acknowledges that they are under Tokyo’s administration and opposes “any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration.”
Lin made it clear that sovereignty is different to administrative control over a territory.
He added that Clinton also said that the US wants to see “China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue,” indicating that the US acknowledges the existence of disputes over the island group and that it wishes for regional peace and stability, which is in line with the wishes of Taiwan.
As for Japan’s administrative control over the Diaoyutais, Lin said Taiwan wishes to conduct negotiations with Japan over fishing rights in the disputed area. He said his ministry is still working on a second round of preparatory fishery talks with Japan, adding that no timetable has been set for the next preparatory meeting.
In November last year Taiwan and Japan held a preparatory meeting to discuss a resumption of formal talks to address the issue of fishing rights in the waters surrounding the Diaoyutais. Taiwan and Japan last held talks on fishing rights in their overlapping territories in 2009, but the discussions have been stalled since then.