Taiwan protests against Japan's name change for Diaoyutai area

06/22/2020 04:01 PM
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Diaoyutai Islands/ Photo courtesy of Kyodo News
Diaoyutai Islands/ Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Taiwan on Monday protested against Japan's decision to change the name of an administrative area that covers the Diaoyutai Islands, saying it was an infringement on Taiwan's territorial claim to the islands.

In a press release, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reiterated the country's sovereignty claim over the disputed islands in the East China Sea and said Japan's decision was regrettable.

The ministry said it had filed a protest with the Japanese side, via diplomatic channels, after the Ishigaki City assembly voted earlier in day to change the administrative name of the area that includes the Diaoyutais, a group of uninhabited islands that are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.

Effective October, the administrative area, now known as Tonoshiro, will be called Tonoshiro Senkaku, following Monday's vote, according to Japanese media reports.

The area falls under Ishigaki City in Okinawa, a prefecture that comprises more than a 150 islands in the East China Sea, some of which are claimed by other countries.

On Monday, MOFA said no unilateral actions will change the fact of Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutais.

The Taiwan government, however, will continue to deal with the territorial disputes peacefully and rationally, MOFA said, calling on Japan to show restraint instead of taking actions that could affect peace and stability in the East China Sea and disrupt cordial bilateral ties.

In Taiwan, the Diaoyutai Islands fall under the jurisdiction of Toucheng Township in Yilan County, which passed a resolution earlier this month to submit a proposal to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) to change the name of the islands to "Toucheng Diaoyutais."

Yilan County Magistrate Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) said Monday that her county government had already sent the name-change proposal to the MOI and that the Ishigaki City assembly's decision was regrettable.

Meanwhile, in a press release, the KMT condemned Japan's move and urged the Taiwan government to summon Tokyo's top envoy in Taipei to protest against the Ishigaki City decision.

The KMT also called on the government to lay out concrete plans to highlight Taiwan's sovereignty claim over the Diaoyutais and protect the rights of Taiwanese fishermen in waters near the disputed islands.

Earlier this month, the KMT and Lin had urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to visit the Diaoyutais to assert Taiwan's sovereignty claim to the islands, which lie northwest of Taiwan and west of Okinawa.

(By Liu Kuang-ting, Wang Chao-yu and Joseph Yeh)


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