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U.S. responds positively to Taiwan's Diaoyutai initiative

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/02 19:33:12

Taipei, Oct. 2 (CNA) Washington completely understands Taiwan's stance on the Diaoyutai Islands, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

Steve C.C. Shia, a spokesman for the ministry, said Tuesday that Washington has responded positively to a proposal by President Ma Ying-jeou for peaceful exploration of the resources around the disputed island chain in the East China Sea.

He made the comment amid Taiwanese news reports that senior U.S. officials shunned this year's Taiwan-U.S. Defense Industry Conference, which was concluded in Pennsylvania that day, as a result of a high profile government-backed protest by Taiwanese fishermen over Japan's control of the Diaoyutais, which are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.

Shia said that some U.S. officials were absent this year because of schedule conflicts and that it had nothing to do with the protest.

The protest saw more than 70 Taiwanese fishing boats, escorted by Taiwan Coast Guard Administration ships, entering waters near the Diaoyutais Sept. 25 in defiance of attempts by the Japanese authorities to stop them.

Shia said that National Defense Deputy Minister Andrew Yang, who is currently visiting the U.S. at the head of a Taiwanese delegation to the Taiwan-U.S. Defense Industry Conference, will meet with U.S. officials to explain Taiwan's stance.

Yang made a speech at the close of the Taiwan-U.S. Defense Industry Conference in which he made a pitch for Ma's proposal for the avoidance of conflict by establishing a code of conduct for the East China Sea through peaceful dialogue.

Yang predicted that judging from the fact that the parties involved in territorial disputes over islets in the South China Sea are still trying to reach consensus, a resolution of the East China Sea dispute will take a lot of wheeling and dealing, from which Taiwan must not be excluded.

Yang also urged Washington to grant Taiwan's request to buy U.S.-made F-16C/D jet fighters and reiterated the country's request for diesel-electric submarines from the U.S.

(By Chen Pei-huang, Tony Liao and Maubo Chang)

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