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MOFA summons Japanese officials over Tiaoyutais dispute

2012/06/27 19:39:29

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Foreign Minister Timothy Yang reiterated Wednesday Taiwan's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutai Islands and said his ministry has summoned Japanese officials stationed in Taiwan to stress Taiwan's stance.

Yang said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) summoned officials of Japan's Interchange Association to express Taiwan's "serious concerns" about moves by Japan that undermine Taiwan's sovereignty over the islands.

The Interchange Association is the Japanese quasi-official organization that deals with Taiwan-Japan exchanges in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Yang was responding to reports that eight members of parliament from the Tokyo area sailed toward the islands the previous day to investigate the local fishing situation as part of a proposed plan to purchase the islands. None of them set foot on any of the uninhabited islands that make up the Tiaoyutai archipelago.

The purchase plan refers to remarks made by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara in mid-April that Tokyo has decided to buy the islands.

In a related development that same day, the Japan Coast Guard demanded that a Taiwanese coastal patrol boat leave the waters around the islands, prompting Japan to issue a formal protest that was rejected by MOFA.

Yang said the archipelago is inherent territory of Taiwan but that MOFA is willing to shelve the dispute and promote joint exploration of ocean resources in the area with Japan.

The Tiaoyutai Islands, which are known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. They are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.

(By Angela Tsai and Jamie Wang)