Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan responded Sept. 28 to remarks by Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on the Diaoyutais at the U.N. General Assembly, describing them as contradicting Tokyo’s recent actions in the archipelago.
“Japan’s denial of ROC sovereignty over the Diaoyutais and its illegitimate move to ‘nationalize’ the archipelago have done nothing but cause a rise in tensions in the East China Sea,” the MOFA said.
“Such behavior stands in stark contrast to Noda’s contention that any attempt to realize a nation’s territorial claim through unilateral actions is inconsistent with the fundamental spirit of the U.N. charter.”
During a Sept. 26 address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Noda said Japan seeks peaceful settlement of territorial and maritime disputes in compliance with international law. But in a post-speech news conference, he reaffirmed his country’s claims over the Diaoyutais and refused to back down on this position.
“The Diaoyutai Archipelago is historically, geographically, legally and practically an inherent part of ROC territory,” the MOFA said. “The government will not budge on this position and is fully committed to protecting national sovereignty and fishing rights.”
According to the MOFA, Japan’s decision last month to purchase three islands in the Diaoyutais has impinged ROC sovereignty and threatened to undermine robust Taiwan-Japan relations. The best way forward, the MOFA added, is for Tokyo to enter into dialogue and resolve Diaoyutais disagreements in accordance with President Ma Ying-jeou’s East China Sea peace initiative.
The initiative calls on all parties to show restraint, shelve controversies, reach a consensus on a code of conduct in the East China Sea, and jointly manage and develop the region’s natural resources.
Separately, Leo Chen-jan Lee, ROC deputy representative to the U.S., said the same day that Taipei and Washington have been in contact over the Diaoyutais dispute, with the latter urging the issue be solved peacefully.
The Diaoyutais are an uninhabited archipelago located roughly 170 kilometers northeast of Taiwan proper. The island group is historically attached to the ROC and includes Diaoyutai Island and the islets of Huangwei and Chiwei.