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Taiwan not to partner with China in Diaoyutais row: CGA head

ROC Central News Agency

2012/09/24 12:10:12

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) The head of the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Monday Taiwan will not partner with China in protecting its fishing rights in regions near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands.

Wang Chin-wang also said on the sidelines of a Legislative Yuan committee meeting that his agency will send more than 10 patrol vessels to escort local fishing boats on a voyage to the Diaoyutai island chain later in the day to assert fishing rights in the area and the country's sovereignty claim.

In dealing with the Diaoyutai territorial tussle with Japan, Wang said that the CGA will abide by the precepts of "no provocation, no conflict and no evasion."

"We will uphold the principles of peace and rationality in handling any issues related to the Diaoyutais," Wang told reporters.

Asked how the CGA will respond if crew members of the Taiwanese fishing boats land on the disputed islets later in the day, Wang said Coast Guard officers will do their utmost to protect fishermen's safety.

Wang's assurance came ahead of the departure of some 100 fishing boats from the northeastern fishing town of Suao for the Diaoyutai island cluster in the East China Sea, which is a traditional fishing ground for Taiwanese fishermen.

Located some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, the Diaoyutai island group has been under Japanese administration since 1972, but is also claimed by Taiwan and China.

In his report to the Legislature's Interior Administration Committee, Wang said the CGA will build seven patrol and disaster relief vessels, including two 3,000-ton ships, in the coming years to beef up its fleet.

Between 2009 and 2012, the CGA has replaced its seven aging 100-ton relief vessels with brand new crafts, Wang told lawmakers.

Meanwhile, Wang said the CGA has stepped up partols in the South China Sea amid escalating territorial tensions in the region.

Since Aug. 21, two multi-functional Coast Guard patrol vessels have been stationed in the Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island -- the largest isle in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Wang said.

Taiwan also controls the Pratas, better known locally as the Dongsha Islands, which is the largest island chain in the South China Sea.

(By Liu Chien-pang and Sofia Wu)

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