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Countering Japan's purchase of islets, Taiwan makes historical case

ROC Central News Agency

2012/09/11 14:59:30

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's government reiterated Tuesday that the Tiaoyutai Islands are part of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and outlined its historical case supporting the claim to counter Japan's efforts to nationalize the archipelago.

Amid reports that the Japanese government was on the verge of signing an agreement with the private owner of three islets in the island chain to formally nationalize them, the Executive Yuan again asserted the ROC government's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais.

"We hope the Japanese government will clearly see the historical truth and not take any actions that could undermine the peaceful situation in East Asia," the Executive Yuan said in a statement.

"The Republic of China will not recognize the validity of the so-called purchase deal between the Japanese government and the private owner," it said.

The Executive Yuan asserted that the Republic of China's sovereignty over the island group is an indisputable historical fact.

China mentioned the Tiaoyutais as early as 1403 in historical documents and they were listed as part of China in Chinese and foreign maps in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Executive Yuan said.

Historical documents have also shown that Chinese people first found, named, and used the land and that they were not uninhabited islets.

The Executive Yuan said the Japanese government has tried to swallow the Tiaoyutas since 1885 and that it secretly ordered an inspection of the island group to set up a "national marker" there.

But then Okinawa Prefecture head Sutezo Nishimura reported that the island group had been named by China and used for many years, and he suggested a delay in the project, arguing that it was not appropriate to set up national markers, the Executive Yuan said.

According to the government, the territory is now under the jurisdiction of Yilan County, which registered the Tiaoyutais as national land in accordance with the Land Law in January 2004 and listed their total area as 612 hectares spanning 61 parcels of land.

According to current land values posted by the government in January 2012, the Tiaoyutai Islands are worth NT$190 per square meter, or a total of NT$1.16 billion (US$39.1 million).

Japan's plan to purchase three of the Tiaoyutais from a private owner has sparked condemnation in Taiwan.

President Ma Ying-jeou traveled on Sept. 7 to Pengjia Islet, the part of Taiwan closest to the Tiaoyutais, to symbolically protest Japan's move and reassert the country's sovereignty over the archipelago.

The president is continuing to monitor developments related to the islands, the Presidential Office said Tuesday, and he directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present the government's stance on the issue.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lilian Wu)

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