A presidential aide yesterday reiterated that the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and their surrounding waters are an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China and that territorial disputes should be solved peacefully.
“Taiwan has been very clear: The Diaoyutais are an inherent part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of China,” Presidential Office Secretary-General Timothy Yang (楊進添) said at the opening of the Taiwan-US-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue forum in Taipei.
Taiwan has consistently stated that the Diaoyutais issue should be addressed based on the principles of “safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, pursuing peace and reciprocity, and promoting joint exploration and development,” he said.
Taiwan, Japan and China claim sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, known as the Senkakus in Japan.
In a follow-up panel session on the issue, Akihisa Nagashima, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives, disagreed, saying that the Senkakus are an inherent part of Japan based on historical facts and international law.
However, he added that Japan and Taiwan “share vital security interests” and common values such as democracy, and condemned China’s “unilateral” actions in the South China Sea and East China Sea, which he said have threatened regional stability.
“We have to restrain China’s behavior,” he said, adding that all parties in the region should “seek to solve problems by rule of law, not by control with forceful measures.”
Tensions around the Diaoyutai Islands have risen since the Japanese government purchased three of the island chain’s islets from private owners last year.
Since then, Chinese ships have been sailing into the disputed area, with Japan and China accusing each other of invading what they both see as their sovereign territory.
Former US representative Dan Burton commended the Taiwanese government for trying to resolve the fishing rights issue between Taiwan and Japan “in a very responsible way.”
“One of the things we really need to do in this world is, before we get into any real confrontation, is to sit down, talk and try to work out our differences,” he said.
Taiwan and Japan signed a fisheries agreement in April to resolve long-running disputes on fishing rights in their overlapping waters in the East China Sea.