Yilan County chief invites president to visit Diaoyutai Islands

06/08/2020 07:55 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Yilan County government
Photo courtesy of the Yilan County government

Yilan, June 8 (CNA) Yilan County Magistrate Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) on Monday invited President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on a trip to the Diaoyutai Islands in a move to assert Taiwan's sovereignty over the islands amid a territorial dispute with Japan that has again begun to simmer.

"The Diaoyutai Islands fall under the jurisdiction of Toucheng Township in Yilan County, and they are indisputably inherent territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan)," Lin told a news conference that was attended by county councilors from across party lines.

Lin's remarks came after Japan's Sankei Shimbun and Okinawa Times newspapers reported over the weekend that the city council of Ishigaki-shi, an island locality in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, which asserts jurisdiction over the disputed islands, is to vote on Tuesday on whether to alter the Senkaku Islands' (as they are known in Japan) district name from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku.

The vote is expected to clear the city council for a name-change slated for Oct. 1, according to the reports.

The Diaoyutai Islands are an uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan and Japan, surrounded by rich fishing grounds.

The disputed chain is located about 200 kilometers southwest of Okinawa and a similar distance from the northeast of Taiwan .

Noting that as far as Taiwan is concerned, the address of the Diaoyutai Islands is No. 1, Diaoyutai Islands Road, Daxi Ward, Toucheng Township, Lin said that "we will invite President Tsai to join us on the trip to the islands as soon as possible so that we can affix an address plate to demonstrate that they are Taiwan's territory."

Yilan County Council Speaker Chang Jian-rong (張建榮) urged the central government to work toward the same cause, stressing that "the Diaoyutai Islands are ours, and we will stand up to defend our territory."

County Councilor Tsai Wen-yi (蔡文益) said that from historical and geographic points of view, the Diaoyutai Islands definitely belong to Daxi Ward in Toucheng and have always been a fishing ground for Yilan fishermen.

The council has suggested that the county government submit a proposal to the Ministry of the Interior to change the name of "Diaoyutai Islands" to "Toucheng Diaoyutai Islands" to clearly reflect the islands' history and location, Tsai said.

Another councilor Chen Chun-yu (陳俊宇) said the Diaoyutai Islands are inherent territory of Toucheng in Yilan County and he urged Japan to respect history and Taiwan's people.

(By Flor Wang and Wang Chao-yu)

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