Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Chin-tien Yang said Sept. 18 on the 81st anniversary of the Mukden Incident that countries in the East China Sea region should learn from history and peacefully resolve disputes over the Diaoyutai Archipelago.
“Tensions concerning the Diaoyutais continue to escalate and without caution, might flare up into an armed conflict,” Yang said. “This is why the ROC government proposed the East China Sea peace initiative as a viable means of resolving disagreements.”
Yang, who made the remarks at a Ministry of Foreign Affairs news conference in Taipei City, was referring to Japan’s Sept. 11 announcement to purchase and “nationalize” the Diaoyutais.
The foreign minister said the Mukden Incident is of historical significance as it was more than eight decades ago Japan violated international law and invaded ROC territory.
The event took place in Manchuria, northeastern China, when a section of railroad on the Japan-controlled South Manchuria Railway was dynamited at Mukden, now Shenyang.
Widely believed to be staged by the Japanese army as a pretext for invading China, the incident led to Japan’s occupation of Manchuria. In 1937, the ROC and Japan went to war, with the eight-year conflict causing more than 25 million casualties.
“We have no intention of inciting hatred by raising the Mukden Incident, but merely of highlighting the horrors of war and value of peace,” Yang said.
The MOFA minister urged Japan to avoid errors of the past in handling the Diaoyutais, reaffirming ROC sovereignty over the archipelago and the government’s rock-solid commitment to protecting the rights of Taiwan fishermen in the region.
“Our principle for tackling disputes over the Diaoyutais is safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disagreements, fostering peace and reciprocity, and promoting joint exploration,” he said.
Yang said that under the East China Sea peace initiative and its implementation guidelines, Taipei, Tokyo and Beijing should conduct bilateral discussions before progressing to trilateral negotiations on exploring and sharing natural resources.
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)