Yilan County Councilor Tsai Wen-yi (蔡文益) on Saturday said he would form a flotilla to “protect the Republic of China’s [ROC] sovereignty” over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) if Japan’s Ishigaki City Council renames the islands.
The Diaoyutais — known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan — are a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China.
The city council on Monday next week is to deliberate changing the administrative designation of the islands from Tonoshiro to “Tonoshiro Senkaku.”
In response, the Yilan County Council on Thursday last week passed a provisional motion recommending changing the name to “Toucheng Township Diaoyutai” (頭城釣魚台), as the county’s Toucheng Township (頭城) has administrative authority over the islands.
Tsai said that if Ishigaki passes its proposal, he would form a flotilla of fishing vessels in Toucheng and Suao (蘇澳) townships on July 7 to “defend” the islands.
If Ishigaki shelves the proposal or if it does not pass, Tsai said he would cancel those plans, and would follow Legislative Speaker You Si-kun’s (游錫堃) position on the islands.
You said that Taiwan and Japan should put aside their differences and jointly develop the islands.
“Protecting the ROC’s sovereignty is the responsibility of everyone regardless of party affiliation or ethnicity,” Tsai said.
Tsai also said they could start a fundraising campaign for the flotilla, which would “preserve each donator’s name throughout history for NT$10,000.”
Issues of whether to land on the islands or surround them, and how many people and ships would be needed for the operation would be decided later, Tsai said.
He said he chose July 7 to commemorate the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident (七 七事變) that led to the eight-year Second Sino-Japanese War.
The Yilan County Government yesterday said that although it understood the central government’s position of working with Japan and avoiding conflict, it would continue to prioritize the interests of the nation’s fishers.
It said it was communicating with the Fisheries Agency and local fishers regarding their concerns over their rights near the islands.
Additional reporting by CNA
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