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Taiwan summons Japanese envoy to protest over Tiaoyutais

2012/08/19 15:06:02

Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Foreign Minister Timothy Yang summoned Japan's top envoy to Taiwan Sunday to lodge a "serious protest" over a visit by Japanese activists to the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands, the Foreign Ministry said that day.

Yang summoned Japan's representative to Taiwan, Sumio Tarui, to protest over the visit by a 150-member group led by Japanese lawmakers, some of whom landed on the island group in the East China Sea, the ministry said in a statement.

During the meeting with Tarui, Yang reiterated Taiwan's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais and described the visit by the Japanese group as a "provocative move" that has fueled tension in the East China Sea.

The Japanese group sailed from Ishigaki Island in the prefecture of Okinawa a day earlier and arrived in the waters off the Tiaoyutais early Sunday, according to media reports.

The stated purpose of the trip was to commemorate victims who died near the island group in an attack by the United States during World War II and also to bolster Japan's claim over the archipelago, according to the reports.

The landing followed a visit to the islands earlier in the week in which Hong Kong activists landed there and brandished flags of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China to bolster their claim that the islands belong to the Chinese people. They were detained and later released by the Japanese authorities.

Taiwan, Japan and China have had competing claims over the Tiaoyutai Islands for several years. The island chain is known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and as the Diaoyutai Islands in China.

From the perspectives of geography, history and international law, according to Yang, it is "indisputable" that Taiwan enjoys sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais.

The minister also urged Japan to immediately stop any action that violates Taiwan's sovereignty over the island group, the ministry statement read.

Citing the East China Sea peace initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou in early August, Yang called on Japan to restrain itself and use peaceful means to address the territorial dispute.

Ma's peace initiative includes calling on all parties to refrain from taking hostile actions, to shelve their differences, to not abandon dialogue, to observe international law and to resolve the dispute via peaceful means.

All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea, and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources in the region, according to Ma's plan.

(By Elaine Hou)