(Taiwan Today) Ma seeks Japan backing for peace initiative

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September 15, 2012 by Water Wisdom

Publication Date:09/14/2012
Source: Taiwan Today

Ma seeks Japan backing for peace initiative

ROC President Ma Ying-jeou reiterates national sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Archipelago Sept. 13 during an international forum in Taipei City. (CNA)
By Rachel Chan
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sept. 13 to continue seeking Japanese support for his East China Sea peace initiative as a way of resolving disputes over the Diaoyutai Archipelago.

“The MOFA must promote the initiative with Japan and win strong backing from all sections of society,” Ma said. “We wish to handle disagreements in a peaceful manner and continue building substantive bilateral exchanges.”

The president made the remarks during a breakfast meeting with Vice President Wu Den-yih, Premier Sean C. Chen, MOFA Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang and ROC Representative to Tokyo Shen Ssu-tsun. Shen was recalled Sept. 11 for consultations on the Japan government’s decision to purchase and “nationalize” three islets in the Diaoyutais.

At an Academia Historica-organized international forum later in the day, Ma said the ROC does not recognize Japan’s occupation of the Diaoyutais as it is “invalid under international law.”

“Our policy on the Diaoyutais is rock solid,” Ma said, adding that the government is willing to work with other parties to develop natural resources in the region based on the principles of ROC sovereignty over the archipelago, shelving of disputes, and peace and reciprocity.

The president also confirmed that the ROC Coast Guard Administration will step up efforts to ensure the safety of Taiwan fishermen operating in the region.

In a move widely seen as attempting to ease tensions, Tokyo offered the same day to resume long-stalled fishery talks with Taiwan, claiming it does not want bilateral relations to suffer as a result of recent Diaoyutais developments.

“The Japan government looks forward to reopening fishery talks with Taiwan as soon as possible, exchanging views on issues of mutual concern, engaging in constructive discussions, and exploring ways of cooperation,” the statement released by the Taipei Office of the Japan Interchange Association read.

In response, MOFA spokesman Steve C.C. Hsia said reopening negotiations must be based on the principle of ROC sovereignty over the Diaoyutais.

“We will not budge on the sovereignty issue for fishery talks,” Hsia said. “Both sides are discussing dates for talks, with the process hinging on Japanese sincerity and good will.”

The Diaoyutais are an uninhabited archipelago located roughly 170 kilometers northeast of Taiwan proper. The tiny island group is historically attached to the ROC and includes Diaoyutai Island and the islets of Huangwei and Chiwei. (JSM)

Write to Rachel Chan at ccchan@mofa.gov.tw

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