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Taiwan rejects Japan's protest over Tiaoyutais row

2012/06/26 23:50:24

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Taiwan's sovereignty over the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands Tuesday after the Japanese authorities demanded that a Taiwanese coastal patrol boat leave the waters around the islands.

"Taiwan has refused to accept a protest lodged by Japan over the incident," said Steve Hsia, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Information and Cultural Affairs.

Hsia said it is normal for Taiwanese patrol boats to operate near the Tiaoyutais because "the island group is inherent territory of Taiwan."

The patrol boat was spotted about 21 km west-northwest of one of the islands in the uninhabited archipelago at 2 p.m. that day, according to Japanese media reports.

The boat left the area 20 minutes after the Japan Coast Guard issued a warning, the reports said.

In the wake of the situation, the Japan Interchange Association in Taipei, a quasi-official organization established to handle bilateral affairs in the absence of formal bilateral diplomatic ties, filed the protest with Taiwan that was rejected by the Foreign Ministry.

Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Tuesday that the media reports are inaccurate and that the boat did not leave the area following the warning.

The CGA's Hsun Hu No. 6 patrol boat were carrying out routine missions from noon of June 25 to noon of June 28, with two fisheryofficials on board, the CGA said.

The patrol boat encountered PL-63, a Japanese coast guard ship,at 2:10 p.m. Tuesday 12.5 nautical miles off Chiwei Islet, and "noconflicts occurred" between the two sides, the CGA said.

It said it would lodge a protest against what it called "incorrectreports by the Japanese side."

The Tiaoyutai Islands are known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan. Both also lay claim to the island group.

(By Nancy Liu and Alex Jiang)