"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Office of the President issues statement regarding the Diaoyutai Islands

[Place] Taipei
[Date] October 5, 2010
[Source] Office of the president, Republic of China(Taiwan)
[Full text]

Presidential Office Spokesman Luo Chih-chiang stated on October 5 that the ROC government has repeatedly reiterated that the Republic of China maintains sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands. The ROC, he said, remains steadfast in maintaining its sovereignty over the islands, adding that its standpoint on this issue has never changed. In the future, the ROC will spare no effort in defending its sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands and protecting the safety of ROC fishermen.

The Diaoyutai Islands, he said, have been considered offshore islands of Taiwan since ancient times. They have historically been a part of the ROC and naturally fall today within ROC territory, Spokesman Luo said. The Diaoyutai Islands were discovered and named by Chinese in 1403 during the Ming Dynasty. For hundreds of years during the Ming and Qing dynasties, Chinese naval defenses protected the islands, which never were uninhabited. This is a historical fact that is fully documented in many texts, he noted. In January 1895, Japan declared the Diaoyutai Islands to be uninhabited and took advantage of the Qing Dynasty's defeat in the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War to annex them. Consequently, after Japan's defeat in 1945 in World War II and its surrender to the ROC, it returned Taiwan to the ROC and the Diaoyutais accordingly should also have been handed back.

In the statement, Spokesman Luo pointed out that nearly each time a conflict arises in seas around the Diaoyutais it involves a Japanese vessel that has entered the Diaoyutai territorial waters and has tried to drive out fishing vessels from Taiwan or mainland China. Consequently, conflicts involving the Diaoyutais at this stage are between Taiwan and Japan, and mainland China and Japan. This is not a conflict between Taiwan and mainland China, he said. At present, Taiwan and mainland China's protests have been directed at Japan and not at each other.

However, if mainland Chinese fishing vessels enter Taiwan's territorial waters to fish illegally, Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration will certainly expel the vessels or detain them. In fact, he said, from January to August of this year, the Coast Guard Administration has forcibly driven out 4,789 vessels and impounded another 2,195. The ROC adopts the same approach to illegal fishing by vessels from other countries and areas, he said.

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait insist on their sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands. However, recent protests filed with Japan have been carried out by each side separately. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait have not acted jointly in this regard, he said.

Given that the issue of sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands will not be resolved satisfactorily in the short term, the ROC government advocates that this dispute be resolved through peaceful means rather than through force.