Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Officials of the Yilan County government in northeastern Taiwan reiterated Taiwan's sovereignty over the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea Tuesday, in response to statements made by Tokyo's governor, who intends to purchase the islands on behalf of his city.
The island group was registered in Taiwan as part of the territory of the Republic of China under the administration of Toucheng Township in Yilan County in 2004 and can only be put to public auction by the Taiwanese government, it said.
The county government urged the central government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to adopt a firm stance and lodge protests to Japanese governor Shintaro Ishihara, who was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that "Tokyo has decided to buy the Senkaku Islands. Tokyo is going to protect the Senkakus," during a speech in Washington.
The Tiaoyutai Islands, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. The island group, which covers a total of 612.18 hectares, is also claimed by China and Japan.
As of January this year, the price of the land there was around NT$190 (US$6.4) per square meter, according to the county's Land Administration Department.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said earlier that day that Taiwan has sovereignty over the island group and that the Japanese government should "handle the matter cautiously" lest it hurt relations between the two countries.
(By Worthy Shen and Maia Huang)