Taiwan welcomes EU's call for calm on Diaoyutais issue
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Sept. 26 (CNA) Taiwan welcomes a call by the European Union for all sides involved in the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutais Islands to seek a peaceful resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
"The EU calls on all parties to take steps to calm the situation," said Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in statement Tuesday, amid escalating tensions in the East China Sea.
"With its significant interests in the region, the EU is following with concern developments in East Asia's maritime areas," Ashton said.
She said the EU is urging all parties concerned to seek peaceful and cooperative solutions in accordance with international law and to clarify the basis for their claims.
In response, Taiwan's foreign ministry said in a statement that Ashton's call is in line with the spirit of the East China Sea Peace Initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou last month.
In the initiative, Ma urged that Taiwan, China and Japan seek to resolve the dispute through peaceful means.
The ministry reiterated its stance for all parties to shelve differences, and jointly explore resources in the disputed area.
Tensions over the Diaoyutais have escalated since Sept. 11, when Japan moved to nationalize the island group by buying three of its islets from a private owner, spurring anti-Japanese protests in many Chinese cities, as well as in Hong Kong and Taipei.
A flotilla of 75 Taiwanese fishing boats, escorted by coast guard vessels, sailed close to the islets Tuesday to assert Taiwan's sovereignty over the islands and their right to fish there.
The action prompted an altercation between Taiwanese and Japanese coast guard vessels that involved the use of water cannons.
The uninhabited Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan.
The island chain has been under Japan's control since 1972, but is also claimed by Taiwan and China.
(By Elaine Hou and Ann Chen)
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