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Taiwan hopes to use peace plan to discuss Tiaoyutai issue with Japan

ROC Central News Agency

2012/08/08 14:48:40

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Taiwan will base its communications with Japan on the Tiaoyutai Islands issue on the spirit of a peace initiative for the East China Sea, the foreign ministry said Tuesday night, while reaffirming Taiwan's sovereignty over the archipelago.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it could not accept remarks made by Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba earlier Tuesday that the island group, known as the Senkakus in Japan, is an inherent part of Japanese territory.

The ministry did, however, welcome Gemba's mention of the importance of Taiwan-Japan ties and Japan's openness to promote cooperation in the resource-rich East China Sea.

Reiterating Taiwan's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais, the ministry said sovereignty cannot be divided but resources can be shared.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo Tuesday, Gemba reaffirmed Japan's sovereignty over the islands, but he also said Japan was open to promoting cooperation in the East China Sea region and hoped that the friendly relations between Tokyo and Taipei would not be hindered by the dispute over the Tiaoyutais.

Gemba was responding to a question about the East China Sea Peace Initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou Aug. 5.

The peace initiative proposed by Ma calls on all parties involved in the territorial dispute to refrain from hostile action, put aside differences, not abandon dialogue, observe international law and resolve the dispute through peaceful means.

All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources in the region, according to Ma.

The initiative comes at a time when Japan is seeking to "nationalize" the Tiaoyutais.

Taiwan, Japan and China have issued competing claims over the Tiaoyutai Islands for several years.

(By Elaine Hou)

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