Taiwan Foreign Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang summoned Sumio Tarui, head of Japan’s Interchange Association Taipei Office, Sept. 11 to lodge a stern protest over the Japanese government’s plans to nationalize three islands in the Diaoyutai Archipelago.
“This is an illegal act infringing on ROC sovereignty,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “We condemn the Japanese government for disregarding historical facts and international law. This extremely unfriendly move damages longstanding bilateral ties and raises tensions in East Asia.”
Shen Ssu-tsun, Taiwan representative to Japan, was also instructed to enter a protest with the Japanese administration, and was recalled to Taiwan, the MOFA said.
The ministry reiterated that “the Diaoyutais are an inherent part of ROC territory, administered by Toucheng Township of Taiwan’s Yilan County. ROC sovereignty over the Diaoyutais is indisputable, from the perspectives of history, geography, practical use and international law.”
When Japan annexed the island group in 1895 during the first Sino-Japanese War, it was an invasive move in violation of international law, MOFA explained. Moreover, there was no imperial decree announcing the action, contrary to standard practice at the time, leaving it unknown to the rest of the world. Japan’s claim thus amounts to an occupation that has been invalid ab initio, according to the ministry.
The ROC government does not recognize any actions taken by the Japanese government that violate ROC sovereignty, including the illegal act of nationalizing the Diaoyutai Archipelago, the MOFA said.
The ministry called on the Japanese government to immediately halt any moves that would harm bilateral relations and heighten tensions in the East China Sea. Japan should admit the existence of disputes over the island chain and respond to the ROC’s East China Sea peace initiative, joining all concerned parties to shelve disputes, confer peacefully and rationally, and cooperate in the development of natural resources, it added.