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Trading of Tiaoyutais 'unauthorized': premier

ROC Central News Agency

2012/09/11 22:00:33

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Premier Sean Chen said Tuesday that any selling or buying of the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands is an "unauthorized disposition" because under Republic of China law, the island chain in the East China Sea is the property of the ROC.

Under the law, any sale or buying of national property by any agent other than the ROC is ruled as "unauthorized disposition," he said in response to media inquiries on Japanese media reports that Japan signed a deal earlier in the day to buy three of the islets from a Japanese family that claims to own the island chain.

The Tiaoyutais are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan, but are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus.

He repeated an East China Sea peace initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou last month, expressing hope that the dispute can be addressed under the premise of shelving differences and jointly exploring resources in the disputed area.

Taiwan's top envoy to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun, voiced a strong protest against Japan's move to buy the disputed island group during a meeting with Japanese Interchange Association President Tadashi Imai in Tokyo earlier in the day, Shen's deputy, Chen Tyau-her, said from Tokyo.

The Interchange Association is the Japanese agency that handles bilateral exchanges between Japan and Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Chen cited Shen as telling Imai that Taiwan hopes Japan will refrain from raising tension in the region and will make a positive response to the East China Sea Initiative.

Shen had already received an order from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fly back to Taiwan the following day to deliver a briefing on the Japanese government's decision to buy the three islets, Chen went on.

Meanwhile, a former Taiwanese representative to Japan, Lo Fu-chuan, said Japan should take the sovereignty dispute to the International Court of Justice as it did over an earlier territorial quarrel with South Korea.

He told reporters that the United States handed over the jurisdiction over the Tiaoyuatais to Japan in 1972 as part of its return of the captured Japanese island of Okinawa.

At that time, "only jurisdiction, not ownership" was handed out, said Lo, who served as Taiwan's top envoy to Japan between 2000 and 2004.

Japan should bring the problem to Geneva, where the international court is located, following the precedence of the sovereignty dispute with South Korea on the Liancourt Rocks, which also lie in the East China Sea, Lo said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Thinktank adviser Lai Yi-chung said the government should take action such as by nationalizing the Tiaoyutais and turning them into a national park.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Yang Ming-chu, Sophia Yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)

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