Saturday, June 14, 2008

Taipei Reaffirms Sovereignty over Diaoyutai, Finally!

Taipei Reaffirms Sovereignty over Diaoyutai, Finally!
Bevin Chu
June 14, 2008

Diaoyutai belongs to China, Map of Diaoyutai printed on Taiwan

Diaoyutai belongs to China, Map of Diaoyutai printed on the Chinese Mainland

The ROC government in Taipei has reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, finally.

It's about time.

For the past 20 years, Taipei has allowed Japan to get away with behaving as if the Diaoyutai Islands (in Hanyu Pinying), or "Tiaoyutai Islands" (in Wade-Giles), and the territorial waters surrounding it, belonged to Japan.

For eight years, Chen Shui-bian has never made a peep when Japanese warships drove Taiwan Chinese fishing boats from Chinese territorial waters.

During his 12 years in office, Chen's predecessor Lee Teng-hui was even worse. Lee openly and explicitly declared that Diaoyutai belonged to Japan!

Now however, three weeks into Ma Ying-jeou's term, a incident that during Lee Teng-hui's term or Chen Shui-bian's term would have been swept under the rug, has brought the issue of China's sovereignty over Diaoyutai into the spotlight.

Now, finally, we have an opportunity to get at the truth.

See China Desk articles on Diaoyutai:

See also:

Executive Director Huang Hsi-lin 黃錫麟 of the Diaoyutai Islands Action Coalition 保釣行動聯盟 thanks the ROC Coast Guard 海巡隊 for its escort mission - The 12 members of the Diaoyu Islands Action Coalition made a successful circumnavigation of the Diaoytai Islands on June 16th. They returned safely to Ruifang Sheng Ao Harbor in Taipei County 北縣瑞芳深澳漁港

Taipei reaffirms sovereignty over Tiaoyutai Islands

Friday, June 13, 2008
The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Tiaoyutai Islands for the first time in at least ten years yesterday, two full days after a 270-ton sports fishing boat sank in a collision with a Japanese maritime defense frigate over their waters.

President Ma Ying-jeou, once a Tiaoyutai warrior, had a statement issued by his spokesman Wang Yu-chi reaffirming the eight islets, some 120 miles northeast of Keelung, are part of the territory of the Republic of China.

No official statement on the Tiaoyutais has been made over the past ten years, and it seems that Taipei has tacitly given up sovereignty over the small archipelago, which the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands.

China, along with Taiwan and Japan, claims sovereignty over the islets under whose waters lie vast natural gas and oil reserves waiting to be tapped.

"We have never changed our determination to insist on protecting our sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais," the Office of the President said in the statement. "Nor will we change."

The islets are designated as Daxi li (ward) of Touzheng Township in the county of Yilan, the statement declared.

"This stand is fully understood by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the statement went on, adding: "It (the foreign ministry) will comply."

On the other hand, the statement said, "We will lodge a strong protest with the Japanese government for its patrol vessel hitting and sinking our fishing boat and detaining its skipper."

"We also demand Japan release the skipper at once and pay compensation," the Office of the President said. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is negotiating with the Japanese side on the basis of the above-mentioned principle," it added.

Moreover, the statement said, "We also demand that the National Coast Guard Administration strengthen its organization and equipment at once to enhance its function of safeguarding our sovereignty and fishing rights."

As an aside, Wang Yu-chi said in releasing the statement there never is a change in President Ma's strong determination to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais, which is spelled Diaoyutais in pinyin. China uses that name.

"He was a hot-blooded youth," Wang said of President Ma when he spearheaded the campaign to protect the Tiaoyutais in the early 1970s.

At that time, Ma said he would risk going to war with Japan to safeguard the eight islets.

"President Ma is a hot-blooded middle-ager now," Wang said.When the dispute over the sovereignty broke out while he was mayor of Taipei, Ma criticized President Chen Shui-bian for not standing up against Japan.

Wang explained Ma did not respond immediately to the incident, in which none were wounded, because as head of state, he had better let his Cabinet take care of it.

The fact, however, is that the public reacted too strongly for the president and his foreign minister to appear like pushovers.

There were 13 sports fishermen along with a three-man crew aboard the fishing boat Lien Ho. They were all thrown overboard in the collision Tuesday morning, but were rescued by the Japanese patrol ship Koshiki.

They were all taken to Ishigaki jima, one of the southernmost isles of the Ryukyus. The 13 deep-sea anglers were released later and came back to Keelung aboard a NCGA cutter Wednesday. Two crew members flew back to Taipei from Okinawa yesterday morning.

Chou Hsi-wei, magistrate of Taipei, accompanied Mrs. Ho Hung-yi, wife of the Lien Ho skipper, in meeting with Premier Liu Chao-schiuan, who promised whatever possible government help to get her husband back as soon as possible.

Liu said he instructed the foreign ministry to demand that Japan release the skipper, make compensation, and apologize for the incident.

"Should there be no goodwill response," Premier Liu threatened, "we do not rule out possibilities of resorting to other means."

He did not elaborate.

The magistrate of Taiwan's most populous county, which has jurisdiction over Juifang, the home port of the Lien Ho, went to the Taipei office of the Interchange Association, Japan's de facto embassy, to lodge a protest.

There was a crowd before the Japanese office protesting against "the arrogant bullying" of the Lien Ho crew and sports anglers.

Lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties unanimously condemned the foreign ministry for buckling under Japanese pressure.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators demanded that Francisco Ou step down as foreign minister to take responsibility.

"Where's the hot-blooded youth called Ma Ying-jeou now?" asked Yeh Yi-tsin, DPP legislative caucus deputy whip.

Kuomintang lawmaker Lin Yu-fang demanded that Chen Chao-min, minister of national defense, be prepared for war.

His colleague, Chang Suo-wen, charged the foreign ministry with ordering the NCGA cutters to stay away from "the Japanese territorial waters," precluding their timely assistance to the Lien Ho.

Another Kuomintang legislator, Liao Chen-ching, insisted that the Legislative Yuan adopt a resolution condemning the "Japanese bullying action."

"We should all go to the Taipei office of the Interchange Association to protest," Chang urged.

Phoebe Yeh, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, denied any such order was issued. But she admitted the cutters were told to stay 12 nautical miles away from the Tiaoyutais.

Tsai Ming-yao, a foreign ministry Japanese affairs coordinator, said he was to blame for telling the cutters to stay away.

"My judgment was a wrong one," Tsai said. "I am responsible."


  1. Bevin,

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    (aka, fool's mountain)

    I've been a long-time reader of your writing as well, and much of it was incredibly informative and eye-opening.

    Our primary vision isn't to be quite as activist as you have been, but to at least make the West *aware* of Chinese perspectives. Towards that end, we'll focus on topics of interest and present the Chinese view of things, often by translating Chinese articles/essays that are otherwise ignored in the West.

    Hope you'll be a regular visitor, and perhaps even consider a role as regular contributor/editor!

  2. By the way, here are the entries we've put out on Taiwan in recent weeks:

  3. Dear Tang Buxi,

    Excellent blog you have!

    Thanks for letting me know about it.

    Will be visiting regularly!


  4. It's funny how when the issue of China comes up, pro-independence people are quick to emphasize Taiwanese sovereignty.

    But when the issue of Diaoyutai comes up, those very same people are so willing to whore out Taiwan. In fact, they're willing to consider Taiwan a district under a US military-government or willing to consider Taiwan under Japanese rule?

    It reeks of double standards and hypocrisy. At least we have a government that can finally stand up for the ROC.

  5. Dear lurker.

    Exactly right.

    The Green Camp's rallying cries of "Taiwan First" and "Taiwan's Primacy" only apply to their own compatriots across the Strait, not to either US or Japanese neocolonialists.

    This latest Diaoyutai really exposes the Deep Greens for the Quislings they are.

    I have long used the term "Quisling." Some consider my use of the term too strong.

    This latest incident confirms that the term Quisling is semantically accurate, and not the least bit hyperbolic.


  6. Does anyone honestly believe the Diaoyutai are ever, EVER going to be under ROC control, even if there is some basis to claiming the islands?

  7. Hardly any of the world powers recognise the ROC except those that live on Taiwan.

    Probably better off gaining more traction by declaring these rock islands part of the PRC.

  8. Too many people today don't understand the distinction between their "country" and their "government."

    That is sad. Even Ronald Reagan understood the distinction.

    The ROC and the PRC are governments. The "ROC" stands for "Republic of China." The "PRC" stands for "People's Republic of China." Both are governments. Both exist.

    By contrast, there is no such thing as an "ROT." It does not exist. Given the political realities, it will never exist.

    Even Japanese historians know that Diaoyutai belongs to China. China is a country. Whether it is ruled by the ROC or the PRC government, it is still China. Diaoyutai still belongs to China.

  9. Bevin, I would have to disagree with your assessment of country vs. government.

    The ROC and PRC both exist. The PRC rules China. the ROC rules Taiwan. They are obviously and in fact two countries, with two clearly distinct territories, currencies, governments and populations, regardless of nonsensical administrative claims over each other.

    1. Wrong.

      Your wording is deliberately misleading and at odds with the facts.

      The PRC administers the mainland region of China. The ROC administers the Taiwan region of China.

      The PRC and ROC disagree about who rules the two regions combined. But they agree that both regions belong to one China.