Japan responds to East China Sea peace initiative

Timothy Chin-tien Yang reaffirms Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Archipelago Aug. 7 in Yilan, eastern Taiwan.
Japan has responded positively to the Taiwan government-proposed East China Sea peace initiative, buoying hopes that both sides can work to resolve disputes involving the Diaoyutai Archipelago.

“Remarks made by Koichiro Gemba, Japan’s foreign minister, are to some extent in line with our call for handling disagreements over the Diaoyutais in a peaceful and rational manner,” a MOFA official said Aug. 7.

“The ROC government welcomes Tokyo’s response to the initiative, based on which we will seek consensus with our Japanese partners through ongoing dialogue.”

Earlier in the day, Gemba said the government of Japan does not want friendly Taipei-Tokyo relations affected by Diaoyutais disputes, and believes there is room for discussing the establishment of a cooperation mechanism. This development is important for the sake of peace and stability in the East China Sea, he added.

But Gemba said this possibility for cooperation is conditional on Taiwan dropping sovereignty claims over the islands.

In response, MOFA Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang said the Diaoyutais, located roughly 170 kilometers northeast of Taiwan proper, are an indisputable and inherent part of ROC territory.

“The ROC government understands, however, that sovereignty disputes over the island group cannot be resolved in the short term,” Yang said, adding that a first step in the process involves think tanks and semiofficial agencies discussing cooperation plans.

“We hope that all parties can shelve differences, adopt a pragmatic attitude and find ways to cooperate and explore resources in the region,” he said.

Rachel Chan