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Ministry urges rationality, peace among anti-Japan protesters

2012/09/22 22:17:51

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Saturday urged rationality and and peace among demonstrators set to protest in Taipei on Sunday against Japan's recent purchase of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

Even though the Republic of China's (ROC's) sovereignty over the islands is indisputable and the government welcomes public support in defense of its territorial claims, the public is advised to express their opinions in a rational and peaceful manner, MOFA spokesman Steve Hsia said.

The organizers said more than 1,000 demonstrators are expected to march to the Taipei office of the Interchange Association, Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan, to deliver a letter of protest against Japan's "invasion" of the ROC's territory.

The uninhabited Diaoyutais in the resource-rich East China Sea are controlled by Japan but are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

Tensions over the islands have escalated since Japan on Sept. 11 purchased three of the disputed islands from their private owner, spurring anti-Japanese protests in several Chinese cities and Hong Kong.

Taiwan recalled its representative to Japan Shen Ssu-tsun after the purchase of the islands, which was seen as a move by Japan to nationalize the Diaoyutais.

Hsia said it has not yet been decided when Shen would return to Japan as he has other related responsibilities.

Meanwhile, fishermen's associations in Keelung and Yilan in northern Taiwan said they will not participate in the demonstration on Sunday.

Chen chun-sheng, president of the Suao Fishermen's Association in Yilan County, said the association’s members have a different agenda.

Fishermen from those areas are planning to sail near the Diaoyutais in the next few days with the aim of securing their fishing rights, he said.

The sovereignty issue should be handled by the government, he added.

(By Chen Pei-huang, Worthy Shen, Claudia Liu and Scully Hsiao)
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