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Ex-president's Diaoyutis remarks draw ire of fishermen

ROC Central News Agency

2016/02/17 18:09:05

Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) A statement by former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) that the Diaoyutai Islands do not belong to Taiwan has drawn the ire of fishermen in the northeastern county of Yilan, with some threatening to protest Japan's attempts to restrict Taiwanese fishing vessels' access to fishing areas near the islands in the East China Sea.

Lee wrote in a newly published book titled 'Remaining Life: My Life Journey and the Road of Taiwan's Democracy' (餘生:我的生命之旅與台灣民主之路) that 'the Diaoyutai Islands do not belong to Taiwan. This is an unquestionable fact.'

In the book, Lee criticizes former Premier Yu Shyi-kun's (游錫堃) decision to include the islands under the administration of Toucheng Township (頭城) in Yilan County, saying that 'there is nothing more stupid than this.'

Suao Fishermen's Association head Chen Chun-sheng (陳春生) said Wednesday at a press conference that Taiwanese fishermen have operated in the area over the past 100 years and asked how Lee could erase this historical fact.

Chen lambasted Lee for lowering himself with his statement pandering to the Japanese at the expense of Taiwanese fishermen's rights and Taiwan's national sovereignty, describing his conduct as unacceptable and shameful.

Chen also noted, citing a Japanese newspaper report, that Japanese fishermen have asked their government to unilaterally exclude a designated area near the Diaoyutais from the fishing area covered by the Taiwan-Japan Fishery Agreement, in an attempt to restrict Taiwanese fishing vessels' access to the region.

This could harm friendly relations between Taiwan and Japan and create animosity between the fishermen of the two countries, Chen added.

Taiwanese fishing vessels have been operating in the area, which is included in fishing areas covered by the fishery agreement, Chen said, adding that if Japan wants to unilaterally exclude the area from the agreed-upon fishing areas, the fishermen's association will not rule out staging a protest.

In related developments, Kuomintang (KMT) legislative caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) also described Lee's remarks as inappropriate, saying that the Diaoyutai Islands certainly belong to Taiwan.

(By Wang Chao-yu, Wang Cheng-chung and Evelyn Kao)

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