The Presidential Office yesterday rebutted former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) argument that the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) do not belong to Taiwan, saying it is an unquestionable fact that the Republic of China (ROC) holds sovereignty over the archipelago.
“Any remarks denying our sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands constitute an act of humiliating the nation and forfeiting its sovereignty. They will not be accepted by the ROC government, nor its people,” Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said.
Chen said it has been the government’s consistent stance that the Diaoyutai Islands have been an inherent part of the ROC since 1683.
“Our claims of sovereignty over the islands are based solidly on their location, geological composition, relevant historical evidence and international law, and are therefore cannot be disputed,” Chen said.
Chen was referring to Lee’s remarks in his latest book, titled Last Days: My Life’s Journey and the Roadmap of Taiwan’s Democratization, in which he wrote: “The Diaoyutai archipelago not being a part of Taiwan’s territory is an indubitable fact.”
“Those politicians who have blindly followed others and claimed the islands as belonging to Taiwan are just ignorant and lacking in common sense,” Lee wrote in the book, which was released on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to express her stance on Lee’s claims in his book that “cross-strait relations are between two nations.”
“From the beginning of her presidential campaign to now, Tsai has failed to explain her cross-strait policies and has been evasive on issues regarding the ROC’s national identity,” KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said in a news release.
Lin said the public might have been willing to put up with Tsai’s ambiguous attitude and empty rhetoric before the elections, but as the nation’s next head of state, she is now obligated to let the public know her real thoughts.
Tsai was believed to be a champion of Lee’s “special state-to-state” theory, as she was a key figure at the National Security Council when the former president tendered the idea in 1999, Lin said.
“Now that Tsai has been elected president and the DPP is set to gain complete control over the nation, there is no longer room for Tsai’s position to remain oblique and for her to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the issue,” Lin said.
The president-elect should take the opportunity to assuage the public’s concerns by elucidating her cross-strait policy and stance on Taiwan’s national identity, Lin added.
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