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September 21, 2017

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Ma tells gov't to seek peace support from Japan

TAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday to seek Japan's support for his East China Sea Peace Initiative for the peaceful solution of territorial disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands, a Presidential Office spokesman said.

Under that initiative, Ma reiterates Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, which are also claimed by Japan and China, and calls on the concerned parties to set aside their disputes and jointly explore resources in the waters surrounding the islands.

Spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said Ma urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote the initiative to Japan, adding that the president also said the Coast Guard will ensure the safety of Taiwanese fishermen operating near the Diaoyutais.

Ma gave his instructions at a working breakfast with Vice President Wu Den-yih, Premier Sean Chen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang and Taiwan's representative to Tokyo Shen Ssu-tsun, according to the spokesman.

The government recalled Shen a day earlier in protest against Japan's purchase of some islets in the Diaoyutais, which are called the Senkaku Islands in Japan, from the Japanese owner on Tuesday.

During the breakfast, Shen briefed the president on the move taken by Tokyo, Fan Chiang said.

Meanwhile, Ma's initiative won support from a member of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium Wednesday.

Charles Tannock, who is the president of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group, lauded the initiative as an effective way to help reduce the tension in East Asia.

The principles embodied in the initiative, such as peaceful dialogue, joint exploration of resources, serve the European Union's interests in East Asia, Tannock said.

Tannock made the remarks after the parliament passed a resolution on the main aspects and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

In that resolution, the EU supports peaceful resolutions of territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the North Korea issue, but the dispute over the Diaoyutais is not mentioned.

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