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No concessions on sovereignty over disputed Tiaoyutais: president

ROC Central News Agency

2012/09/03 18:05:17

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou reaffirmed Monday his unswerving stance that there will be no concessions regarding the Republic of China's sovereignty over the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.

"There will be no concessions on even one inch of territory," Ma said at a ceremony to mark the launch of the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ma also spoke on the East China Sea Peace Initiative, a proposal he put forward that aims at safeguarding sovereignty, shelving differences, pursuing peace and reciprocity and jointly exploring resources in the area.

He said that only when neighboring countries come to a consensus can they begin peaceful discussions on the disputed island chain, which lies about 100 nutical miles off Taiwan's northeastern tip.

The president's remarks came amid reports that the Japanese government is finalizing a plan to purchase three of the island chain from a private owner in mid-September for 2.05 billion Japanese yen (US$26.15 million).

Foreign Minister Timothy Yang, who also attended the ceremony, called for rationality over territorial disputes, noting that "sensational ways will not solve the problem, but will make the situation more tense."

He said words or deeds of other countries will not help the peace and stability in the region, expressing the hope for related parties to "exercise self-discipline."

He also noted that the peace initiative broached by Ma is a rational and substantive approach to address the dispute.

The initiative will help peace, stability and prosperity in the region, he said.

Located in the resource-rich East China Sea, the island chain is currently controlled by Japan, but is claimed by Taiwan and China.

In a recent flare-up between claimants, a group of Hong Kong activists landed on the islands in mid-August and were detained by Japanese authorities. They were later released.

Following that incident, Japanese lawmakers led a group of activists on a visit to the Tiaoyutais, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, and some of them also went ashore to assert sovereignty claims.

(By Justin Su and Lilian Wu)

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