The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs ran ads in four major U.S. newspapers Oct. 10, highlighting national sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Archipelago and urging resolution of regional disputes in accordance with the East China Sea peace initiative.
“As a founding member of the U.N., the ROC believes it has the responsibility to resolve Diaoyutais disputes in a peaceful manner under the principles of the U.N. Charter,” a MOFA official said. “We are committed to this approach as the archipelago unquestionably belongs to Taiwan.”
Published in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, the advertisements follow Japan’s Sept. 11 decision to purchase and “nationalize” three islets in the Diaoyutais, and remarks by Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on the archipelago Sept. 26 at the U.N. General Assembly.
The ads outline Taipei’s rock-solid position over the Diaoyutais, which are historically, geographically, legally and practically an inherent part of ROC territory.
The official said it is truly regrettable that Noda refuses to acknowledge the existence of Diaoyutais disputes while rejecting Taiwan’s offer to let the International Court of Justice review the matter.
To add insult to injury, the official said, Noda stated that any attempt to realize a country’s claim by force or threat is inconsistent with the spirit of the U.N. Charter. “This stands in stark contrast to Japan’s decision to seize the Diaoyutais during the first Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895.”
Under the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) was forced to cede the Diaoyutais and other territories to Japan. But these were all returned to the ROC after WWII based on the Cairo and Postdam declarations, the Instrument of Surrender of Japan, the San Francisco Treaty, and the Treaty of Peace between the ROC and Japan.
“Japan’s claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands is invalid ab initio [from the onset] under international law since the islands were never terra nullius [land without owner],” the official said.
Given recent events, the official said, the best way forward for Japan is to embrace the ROC government’s East China Sea peace initiative and join in forging a path of coexistence and mutual prosperity.
The five-point plan urges all parties to refrain from antagonistic actions; not abandon dialogue; observe international law; resolve disputes through peaceful means; and form a mechanism for exploring and developing resources on a cooperative basis.
“This can be achieved by having Taipei, Tokyo and Beijing conduct bilateral discussion before progressing to trilateral negotiations,” the official said.
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.