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February, 26, 2017

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Taiwan calls for peaceful end to Diaoyutais dispute

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei has called for a peaceful resolution to territorial disputes in the East China Sea after U.S. President Donald Trump assured Japan that mutual defense agreements include the disputed Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyutais in Taiwan.

The uninhabited islands are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.

Alex Huang, spokesman for the Presidential Office, said Saturday that Taipei urged all countries to set aside the dispute and jointly develop the areas around the islands in the East China Sea.

"We have never changed our stance," Huang said, referring to Taiwan's long-standing claim to the islands.

But the disputes in the East China Sea must be resolved peacefully in order to maintain peace and stability in the region,

he said.

Trump on Friday signed off on a joint statement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which the United States reaffirms its commitment to defend Japan through nuclear and conventional military capabilities.

The pledge covers the disputed islands, which are currently under the jurisdiction of Japan.

Observers in Taiwan warned that President Tsai Ing-wen should be alarmed by the latest developments in the relationship between Washington, Tokyo and Beijing, according to the United Daily News.

Tsai Zheng-jia, a researcher at National Chengchi University's Institute of International Relations, was cited by the paper as saying that Abe wants to team up with the United States to defend Japan from China, but such a strategy seemed to have been weakened by the fact that Trump had just pledged that the U.S. would adhere to the one China policy.

Tsai said Trump's attitude towards Japan was different from that of his predecessor Barack Obama.

The researcher said Obama would give Japan anything it would needed, as he considered the country important "chip" in his strategic game maintaining balance in the area, according to the paper.

Tsai was quoted as saying that Trump saw Japan as an equal partner that would have to pay when it needed backing in the face of increasing tensions with China.

Trump may be ask more from Japan and Taiwan, both of which rely on the United States, but either could lack the resources to meet Trump's demands, the researcher warned.

Japan could offer to create large amounts of jobs in the United States, but Taiwan could not, he said, urging President Tsai to adjust her diplomatic policies.

Some other observers said Trump's pledge to Japan over the Diaoyutais would give the Tsai administration a headache if tensions over the islands heightened in the future.

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