Taiwan repeats position on Diaoyutais amid envoy's dissenting view

06/23/2020 05:12 PM
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Taiwan's representative to Japan Frank Hsieh. / CNA file photo

Taipei, June 23 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday reasserted Taiwan's sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands after Taiwan's envoy to Japan seemed to say otherwise in a Facebook post.

On Monday, the Ishigaki City Council in Japan's Okinawa prefecture formally approved the renaming of the administrative district for the disputed islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, from "Tonoshiro" to "Tonoshiro Senkaku."

The move angered many in Taiwan, but Taiwan's representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) suggested they were Japanese territory.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Hsieh said Japan has had de facto control over the islands since the 1970s, despite MOFA's multiple assertions of Taiwan's sovereignty.

"In July 1971, the United States announced the handover of the Diaoyutai Islands, along with the Ryukyu Islands, to Japan's jurisdiction. This was executed on May 15 the next year. Since then, Japan has been practically exercising jurisdiction over them," Hsieh said.

He also argued that the then-ruling Kuomintang (KMT) government did not file a protest with the Japanese government at the time.

Taiwan's government has protested the move despite Ishigaki Mayor Nakayama Yoshitaka's clarification that the renaming of the islands' administrative zone was aimed mainly at China.

Hsieh's statement stirred the anger of the legislative caucus of the opposition KMT, which demanded that he return to Taiwan and present a report to the Legislative Yuan.

In a regular press briefing Tuesday, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the ministry will cooperate with the KMT's request in line with legislative procedures and would handle the issue fairly.

Ou reiterated that the fact that the Republic of China (Taiwan) has sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands will not be altered by unilateral actions of any other country.

She stressed that Taiwan's government will handle the issue peacefully and rationally and urged the Japanese side to maintain restraint, so that the friendly relations between Taiwan and Japan will not be affected.

(By Emerson Lim)

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