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May 25, 2017

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Ma reiterates peace initiative amid tension

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday reiterated his East China Sea Peace Initiative, urging neighboring countries to show restraint and seek peaceful means to settle territorial disputes amid escalating conflict centering on the ownership of the Tiaoyutai Islands.

"We called upon all parties to refrain from taking antagonistic action, shelve their differences and resolve disputes through peaceful means," Ma said yesterday in Taipei.

Despite calling for a peaceful solution to the ongoing row, the president reaffirmed Taiwan's East China Sea claim and stressed that there will be no concessions concerning the nation's sovereignty over the disputed area.

"We will insist on our national interest and sovereignty, and we will not budge even an inch," Ma said.

The president made the comments when addressing Taiwanese diplomats during a ceremony to mark the launch of the Foreign Ministry's Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs.

Ma's remarks came after media reports claimed that the Japanese government has taken another step in its bid to nationalize the Tiaoyutais. Tokyo officials reportedly plan to buy the island chain from a private owner in mid-September for 2.05 billion Japanese yen.

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