New Party mulls Tiaoyu Islands purchase
CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan's New Party said yesterday it is willing to buy an outcrop of the disputed Tiaoyu Islands and turn it into a military base to carry out live-fire training drills.
August 23, 2012, 12:29 am TWN
New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming said in a statement the Yilan County Government and the National Property Administration under the Ministry of Finance should come up with regulations for trading the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The New Party, he said, was willing to help raise funds for the purchase of an outcrop in the archipelago and donate it to the military as a base for carrying out live-fire drills.
The statement came amid heightened tensions over the islands after Japanese lawmakers and activists landed on the Tiaoyu Islands on Aug. 19, prompting anti-Japanese protests across China, which also claims sovereignty over the islands.
Lying about 100 nautical miles off Taiwan's northeastern tip, the Tiaoyutais are currently controlled by Japan, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
In light of the anti-Japanese sentiment in China, Yok cautioned that far right activists are a tiny minority in Japan and said Taiwan should not harbor resentment against the vast majority of Japan's people to avoid hurting bilateral relations.
He also advised Taiwanese nationals to avoid forcing their way on to the islands unless they are well protected by military force to avoid suffering the shame of being handcuffed and taken into custody by Japanese authorities.
Also Wednesday, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng told reporters in New York that Taiwan is on good terms with Japan, and he hoped bilateral relations would not be sabotaged by the Tiaoyutais dispute.
It is crucial for Taiwan not only to reaffirm sovereignty over the islands but also to maintain good bilateral relations with Japan, he said.
Wang was in New York for a brief stopover on his way to visiting diplomatic allies El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lee Hung-chun, who was traveling with Wang's delegation, said that for Japan, the Tiaoyutais are more than a territorial dispute. They are also a political issue ahead of House of Representative elections in Japan this fall.
The more pressing issue for Taiwan, Lee said, is to align with Japan as an economic ally to fight against South Korea and reach a free trade agreement with Tokyo.