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Taiwan rules out cooperation with China on Tiaoyutai issue

ROC Central News Agency

2012/08/15 16:42:40

Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) flatly rejected Wednesday a proposal by some activists that Taipei should cooperate with Beijing in asserting its sovereignty over the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.

Ministry spokesman Steve Hsia reiterated that the island chain, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyutais in China, is part of the Republic of China's inherent territory, with its surrounding waters being a traditional fishing ground of Taiwanese fishermen.

"Based on the country's policy and interests, we will never cooperate with mainland China to resolve the territorial dispute (with Japan) over the Tiaoyutais," Hsia said.

He said the government will take any necessary measures to uphold its sovereignty over the area and protect the rights of Taiwanese fishermen.

The Coast Guard Administration, for example, dispatched vessels to escort fishermen to waters near the Tiaoyutais in July, and will continue to accept such requests by fishermen in the future, he said.

According to Hsia, President Ma Ying-jeou's recent call for all concerned countries to resolve the territorial disputes in the East China Sea via peaceful means has received very positive response from the international community.

Meanwhile, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said Ma's "East China Sea peace initiative" is consistent with the DPP's long-standing policy toward the issue.

Lin said his party is opposed to the idea of cross-strait cooperation to resolve the Tiaoyutai dispute because this could be manipulated to become a Taiwan-China alliance against Japan.

To avoid the scenario, the government should not assist activists in creating conflicts with the Japanese side, Lin said.

A group of activists from Hong Kong is currently sailing to the Tiaoyutais to protest plans by a group of Japanese lawmakers to land on the disputed islands Aug. 19.

Activists from Taiwan had intended to join the Hong Kong group, but were forced to cancel their plan after they failed to rent a boat, possibly due to pressure from Taiwan authorities.

Also Wednesday, MOFA's Hsia urged Tokyo to pay greater attention to the feelings of countries that experienced Japanese wartime aggression, following visits by two Japanese cabinet ministers to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine earlier that day.

The shrine honors Japan's 2.5 million war dead, including 14 war criminals from World War II.

(By Justin Su, Chen Pei-huang and Y.F. Low)

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