MOFA stands strong on Diaoyutais

By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - Page 3

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) yesterday reaffirmed the government’s position that Taiwan will not make any concessions on the nation’s territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and called on Japan to deal with the matter with rationality and deliberation.

“There is no question that the Diaoyutais have been an integral part of the territory of the Republic of China [ROC] since ancient times, as evidenced by historical facts, geology, international law and the operations of traditional Taiwanese fishermen,” Yang said on the sidelines of a press conference to promote an emergency aid application for Taiwanese traveling abroad, known as Travel Emergency Guidance, launched by the ministry.

Yang said that despite the nation’s full sovereignty over the islands, the government must put aside long-standing disputes over the matter while inviting other countries to jointly explore and share resources in an amicable, equal and a reciprocal manner.

The foreign minister made the remark following a new round of disputes over the islands, as well as confirmation by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Saturday of a report that the Japanese government was mulling buying a chain of islands in the Diaoyutais from a Japanese man who claims them as his inheritance and nationalizing them at a later date.

Asked about the possibility of the government adopting “concrete measures” to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, Yang said the ministry would seek further deliberation with concerned agencies and put in place proper countermeasures.

“[Any future actions] would be contingent on the development of the matter,” Yang said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese navy yesterday started a six-day live-fire military drill, which will run through Sunday, in the East China Sea. The exercise comes at a sensitive time and has added to the already considerable tension in the region.

Yang urged all parties to remain calm and react cautiously while refraining from any inflammatory rhetoric or conduct that could adversely impact the regional status quo.

He reiterated that Taiwan would not join hands with China in asserting sovereignty over the islands, adding the country has its own stance and national interests on the issue.