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Taiwan shows propriety in protest over disputed islands: president

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/08 14:37:59

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that both the private and government sectors have shown propriety in the recent protest against Japan over disputed Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.

Ma said that on a controversial issue such as the Diaoyutais, which are currently administered by Japan but are also claimed by Taiwan and China, Taiwan must respond.

On one hand, Taiwan needs to defend its sovereignty, but at the same time, thinks that international disputes should be solved through peaceful means, Ma said.

"We need to have a good sense of propriety," he said in an opening address at a peace conference in Taipei.

He cited as an example Taiwan's Sept. 25 protests, when a large contingent of Taiwanese fishing boats, escorted by Coast Guard Administration vessels, went to waters near the Diaoyutais to protest against Japan's nationalization of the island chain and the harassment of Taiwanese fishing boats while operating in the region in recent years.

He said that while the Taiwanese coast guard ships did not provoke their Japanese counterparts, they traded water cannon blasts with them when fired upon during the escort mission.

The fishermen were not armed and did not launch attacks. The fishing boats returned after completing their mission of asserting Taiwan's sovereignty over the uninhabited archipelago.

This, according to Ma, demonstrated that the Republic of China has "an accurate sense of the propriety, whether on the part of the private or the government sectors."

He said the prominent international coverage of the spat helped to publicize Taiwan's claim over the island chain, although it did not cause any conflict or bloodshed, which he said "has shown that we're truly peace-loving people."

"There are absolutely no concessions regarding defending the nation's sovereignty, but the handling of disputes should be carried out in a peaceful way," Ma said.

"This is the sense of decorum and propriety of a civilized nation," he said.

He also said that his East China Sea peace initiative proposal broached in August is aimed at putting aside disputes and jointly tapping resources, and added that he belives this will be the approach for solving future East East China Sea disputes, sooner or later.

(By Kelven Huang and Lilian Wu)

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