The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed concern yesterday over a trip made by a group of Japanese activists to waters near the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) earlier in the day, while reaffirming Taiwan’s sovereignty over the island chain.
In a statement, the ministry urged all sides in the territorial dispute to refrain from taking actions that could undermine peace and stability in the region.
The ministry’s statement followed a wire agency report that five boats carrying about 20 members of a Japanese nationalist group arrived in waters near the Diaoyutais. The group did not plan to land on the uninhabited islands, but said it wanted to send a message to China that the islands “are under Japanese control,” the report said.
From a historical and geographical perspective, as well that of international law, the Diaoyutais are an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China, the ministry said.
The Diaoyutais, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島) in China, lie about 120 nautical miles (220km) northeast of Taipei and are claimed by all three nations.
In light of the disputes over the islands in the resource-rich East China Sea, Taiwan has consistently advocated safeguarding sovereignty while shelving differences, seeking peace and reciprocity, and called for all parties to respond to the East China Sea peace initiative proposed by Taiwan to resolve the matter peacefully, the ministry said.
The peace initiative calls for all sides to shelve their differences and jointly explore and develop resources in the area.