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August 18, 2017

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Japan's occupation of Diaoyutais unlawful: Ma

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated yesterday that the Diaoyutai Islands have been sneakily occupied by Japan, an action which he insisted is "invalid under international law."

Ma said the Diaoyutais undoubtedly fell under the administration of the Ching Empire of China until it was surreptitiously taken away by Japan at some point after 1895.

The Republic of China government, which superseded the Ching government in 1912 and moved to Taiwan in 1949, will "fight for every inch of its territory," the president said.

"We certainly do not recognize the Japanese occupation because it is invalid under international law," he said in a seminar held by Academia Historica, the country's top-level organization established in 1957 to take charge of recording national history.

Ma pointed out that Japan's attempts to occupy the Diaoyutais were first reported in China by the Shanghai-based daily Shun Pao Sept.6, 1885.

The report caught the attention of Li Hung-chang, at the time the grand councilor in the Ching imperial government, who later requested a meeting with Empress Dowager Tsu-hsi to discuss the matter, he said.

It was later learned that the Ching government had been planning to expand its naval forces and to upgrade Taiwan's status to that of a province of China in an effort to defend its sovereignty over the island group, which lies some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, according to Ma.

Somehow, however, he went on, the Diaoyutais were occupied by Japan without the knowledge of the Ching government at some point after 1895, when Taiwan was ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki at the end of the first Sino-Japanese War.

Ma renewed his proposal for all concerned parties to seek a peaceful resolution to the territorial dispute and to jointly develop the resource-rich area.

The Diaoyutais, called the Senkakus in Japan and the DiaoyuIslands in China, are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China.

The row heated up recently after the Japanese government decided to buy three of the islands from their private owner for 2.05 billion Japanese yen (US$26 million).

Taiwan's representative to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun, has been ordered back to Taiwan to provide the government with a full briefing on the situation.

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