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Over 1,000 to rally in Taipei over Japan 'nationalisation'

Publication Date : 23-09-2012


More than 1,000 people will take to the streets today and gather outside Japan's representative office in Taipei to support Taiwan's sovereignty claim over the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, protesting against the Japanese government's unilateral “nationalisation” of the islands, according to the Chinese Association in Defence of the Diaoyutai Islands.

Protesters will first gather at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall at 2pm today, and then march along Jenai Road, Guangfu South Road, Zhongxiao East Road, Fuxing South Road, Fuxing North Road to the Japan Interchange Association located on Ching Cheng Street, where they will call for Japan to stop its invasion of the Republic of China's territory.

Pan-blue camp members from the New Party and the People First Party will also mobilise their members and supporters to join the rally.

Secretary-General Wu Cheng-dian of the New Party said that he will lead hundreds of New Party members and supporters to join the demonstration. He said that the party has prepared banners to protest Japan's recent move to “nationalise” the Diaoyutais, which, he added, are an indisputable part of the ROC's territory.

Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary-General Liu Wen-hsiung of the People First Party said that his party has sent messages, via mobile phones and the Internet, to members and supporters, urging them to attend the Sunday rally. Liu added that safeguarding the nation's sovereignty over the islands is one of the PFP's top priorities.

Members of the fishermen associations in Keelung City and Yilan County, however, said that they won't be joining the rally, because they are only concerned about fishing rights in the waters near the islands, adding that the sovereignty issue should be handled by the government.

Several fishermen said that they would take advantage of the good weather conditions on Sunday to carry out fishing operations instead of attending the anti-Japan rally in Taipei.

Also yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the government welcomes the support of the public, but the spokesman of the ministry, Steve Hsia, called for demonstrators to stay calm. He said the government is monitoring the situation closely and will reinforce security measures at Japan's representative office as well as at a school for Japanese nationals in Taipei.

The long-simmering Diaoyutais territorial row reached a new level in September, when the Japanese government “bought” three of the uninhabited group of islets from a Japan-recognised private owner in an attempt to reinforce its sovereignty claim, causing demonstrations and riots in various mainland Chinese cities. Taiwan, mainland China and Japan have long claimed that the islands are part of their territories.

A local ship, “Ta Han 711” (711), returned to Taiwan on Friday after a brief standoff with Japanese Coast Guard ships and a helicopter in disputed waters off the Diaoyutai Islands. During the standoff, the local vessel broadcasted slogans to Japanese forces via radio, saying that “th Diaoyutais are part of Taiwan's territory.


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