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June 29, 2017

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Gov't may recall envoy over island row: report

The China Post--Taiwan could recall its top envoy to Japan if the Japanese government insists on carrying out its plan to nationalize the Tiaoyutai Islands, local diplomatic sources told the Central News Agency yesterday.

The Foreign Ministry is closely monitoring Tokyo's move to buy the island chain from a private owner, the sources said.

If the Japanese government has decided to disregard Taiwan's repeated protests and carry out its plans for the purchase, Taiwan could call back Shen Ssu-tsun, its de facto ambassador to Japan, the sources said.

The call-back could take place at an "appropriate time" so that Shen could return and brief Taiwanese officials regarding Tokyo's recent moves to buy the disputed island chain, the sources said.

The news came amid Japanese media reports that members of the Japanese Cabinet yesterday formally endorsed the plan to put part of the privately owned islets of the Tiaoyutai Island chain, known as Senkakus in Japan, under national ownership.

The purchase is expected to be made official today after the Japanese government signs an agreement with a private owner for 2.05 billion Japanese yen.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday officially demanded Tokyo not to conduct any moves that could infringe on Taiwan's sovereignty claim to Tiaoyutais, which could jeopardize bilateral ties and escalate regional conflicts.

MOFA reiterated that Taiwan does not recognize any move by the Japanese government to nationalize the islands, adding that from geological and historical perspectives, the Tiaoyutais, situated on the continental shelf in the East China Sea, are an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China.

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