The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan reiterated Sept. 16 that the nation’s stance on sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Archipelago is unswerving.
“The Diaoyutais are an inherent part of ROC territory,” the MOFA said. “The ROC government’s principle for tackling disputes over the islands is safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disagreements, peace and reciprocity, and joint exploration.”
The MOFA made the remarks after Japanese media reported that the ROC position regarding the Diaoyutais had softened.
The ministry noted that the waters surrounding the island chain have been fishing grounds for Taiwan fishermen since the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). “Our fishermen have legal rights to operate in the region that cannot be violated,” the MOFA said, stressing that the government will make every effort to protect fishing boats and crews.
In response to Japan’s declaration that it is willing to relaunch fishing negotiations with Taiwan as soon as possible, the ministry said it welcomed the proposal. “But such talks should be held at an appropriate time on friendly terms, based on the premise that the rights of Taiwan fishermen to their traditional fishing grounds will be preserved,” it noted.
“We ask Japan to demonstrate good will and sincerity in respecting the rights of our fishermen to work in waters surrounding the Diaoyutais.”
Diplomatic sources predicted that fishery meetings between Taiwan and Japan could be held in October at the earliest.
In addition, MOFA called once again for Japan to face up to the ROC claim to sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, in accordance with the East China Sea peace initiative, and jointly shelve disputes, confer pragmatically, and deal with the issue peacefully and rationally to maintain longstanding cooperative ties.