The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan dismissed Tokyo’s protest over the standoff between a Taiwan fishing boat and Japan Coast Guard vessels near the Diaoyutai Archipelago July 4, reaffirming national sovereignty and urging its Asian neighbor to exercise self-restraint.
“The Diaoyutais are an inalienable part of ROC territory and the nation’s ships are entitled to visit the area freely,” MOFA spokesman Steve Hsia said. “We hope Japanese authorities can address this matter in a peaceful and rational manner for the benefit of Taipei-Tokyo relations.”
According to Hsia, the Taiwan trawler was cruising at 8:25 a.m. in waters 1.6 nautical miles from the archipelago when Japan Coast Guard vessels ordered it to prepare for boarding and inspection. Escorted by five ROC Coast Guard Administration patrol boats, the trawler ignored Japanese directives and continued on its course.
Osamu Fujimura, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, expressed serious concern over the incident in a news conference later the same day, and this position was reiterated in a protest lodged by the Japan Interchange Association in Taipei to MOFA’s Association of East Asian Relations.
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.