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Taiwan protests Tokyo's plan to buy disputed islands

Publication Date : 18-04-2012


Taiwan's foreign ministry yesterday issued a protest in the wake of a recent statement by a Japanese politician indicating his intention to buy several uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both countries.

“The Tiaoyutais are the inherent territory of the Republic of China and we have sovereignty over them,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman James Chang.

The ministry does not recognise the statements made by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, Chang said during a regular MOFA briefing in response to recent media reports that Ishihara is interested in using public funds to buy three islands in the disputed Tiaoyutais.

During a speech made in Washington on April 16, Ishihara said he has begun talks to purchase Uotsurijima, Kitakojima and Minamikojima, all of which are located in the disputed island chain.

The Tiaoyutais, known as the Diaoyutais in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan's northeastern tip.

The islands are controlled by Japan but are also claimed by both Taiwan and China.

The 79-year-old Japanese politician, known for his nationalistic views, said Tokyo has been negotiating with the private Japanese owners of the islands, adding that the metropolitan government is close to reaching an agreement to buy them.

The Tokyo governor said he would use funds from the municipal budget to make the purchase after receiving approval from the metropolitan assembly.

”Tokyo has decided to buy the Senkaku Islands. Tokyo is going to protect the Senkakus,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Ishihara as saying in his Washington speech.

In response, Chang said yesterday that the MOFA calls on the Japanese authorities to restrain its politicians from making such controversial remarks.

The MOFA said it will step up communications with Japan and urge the Japanese side to resolve the sovereignty dispute in a peaceful and rational manner to avoid hurting the nations' friendly bilateral relations.


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