Tokyo, Sept. 12 (CNA) Taiwan's representative Shen Ssu-tsun left Tokyo for Taipei Wednesday to report on the circumstances surrounding Japan's decision to nationalize the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.
Shen, who was being recalled by Taipei in protest of Japan's move, reiterated that the island group is an inherent part of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
"Our country does not recognize Japan's so-called purchase of the islands, which is unlawful and invalid," Shen told a group of reporters at Haneda Airport.
On Tuesday, the Japanese government formally decided to buy three of the Tiaoyutai Islands from their private owner for 2.05 billion Japanese yen (US$26 million).
Shen said he lodged a strong protest with the Japanese government and urged Tokyo to pay attention to the disputed status of the Tiaoyutais.
"We hope Japan will cherish the friendship with Taiwan and take substantive steps to ease regional tensions and maintain regional peace and stability," he added.
The Tiaoyutai Islands, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. The island group is claimed by Taiwan, Japan, and China.
Chinese media reported Tuesday that China had dispatched two marine surveillance ships to waters near the Tiaoyutais to "assert the country's sovereignty" in the wake of Japan's purchase of the islands.
The Japanese Coast Guard said, however, that it had not spotted the ships as of Wednesday morning.
Chinese authorities had not provided any information on the vessels' whereabouts as of early Wednesday afternoon.
(By Yang Ming-chu, Tsao Heng and Y.F. Low)