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July 28, 2017

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Lawmakers look to summon Japan official over Diaoyutais

By Joseph Yeh--Lawmakers across party lines yesterday asked the government of Japan to send a representative to Taiwan to brief the Legislature on the purpose behind the nationalization of three of the Diaoyutai Islands amid an escalating sovereignty row.

Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) made the proposal yesterday when he attended a briefing presented by Taiwan's recently returned representative to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun, who was recalled by Taipei in protest over Japan's move to buy three islands claimed by Taiwan.

According to Lee, Taiwan has lodged several rounds of protests with Tokyo after the Japanese government formally decided to buy three of the islands from their so-called private owner for 2.05 billion yen last Tuesday.

The Japanese government, however, continued to ignore the nation's disapproval of the move and instead sent a mission to Beijing to brief the Chinese government that also claims ownership of the islands.

"Taiwanese people have shown extreme goodwill to Tokyo in aiding the nation in the aftermath of 2011 March 11 Tohoku Earthquake, but the Japanese government has shown no respect to Taiwan during the ongoing row," Lee said.

Lee therefore asked Shen to call on the Japanese government to dispatch a representative to Taiwan to explain its recent controversial decision and to listen to what the Taiwanese have to say about the issue.

His proposal has immediately won support from other KMT lawmakers and opposition People First Party colleagues that joined the briefing held in the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Some KMT members even proposed that the government should make more aggressive protests, including holding a large-scale military drill near the Diaoyutais.

No opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) members joined the briefing.

In response to Lee's request, Shen said that he has been calling on the Japanese government not to ignore Taiwan over the islands issue.

He pledged that the Foreign Ministry will try to persuade Tokyo to send officials to Taiwan to explain its government's decision to nationalize the Diaoyutais.

Before briefing the Legislature, Shen confirmed that he had met with President Ma Ying-jeou early yesterday morning.

During their meeting, Shen said the president instructed him to deal with the issue based on the principles of upholding Taiwan's sovereignty claims, safeguarding Taiwanese fishing rights in the region and maintaining regional peace and stability.

Shen said Taiwan will be closely monitoring Japan's nationalization plans and will take any necessary measures in response to developments.

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