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July 25, 2017

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Taiwan unlikely to take dispute over islands to int'l court: envoy

By Joseph Yeh--Taiwan is unlikely to resolve the Diaoyutai Islands sovereignty dispute via international meditation since it is not a member of the United Nations, the nation's top envoy to Japan said yesterday in Taipei.

"Taiwan is not a U.N. member state so it would be difficult for us if we want to settle the dispute via international courts," said Shen Ssu-tsun, Taiwan's representative to Japan, yesterday during a legislative session.

Shen made the remarks in response to an opposition lawmaker who asked him to comment on President Ma Ying-jeou who said that the government will not rule out the possibility of resolving the dispute via international meditation if necessary.

Despite the unlikelihood of solving the island row via international courts, Taiwan can still find ways to negotiate with the two other claimants and solve the matter peacefully, which is exactly why the president proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative, Shen said

Shen attended the legislative session yesterday to brief Taiwanese lawmakers on the latest Taipei-Tokyo relations in the wake of the recent row.

He was recalled back to Taiwan Sept. 12 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a severe protest over Tokyo's recent "purchase" of three uninhabited islets in the disputed island chain.

Previous reports claimed that Shen would be heading back to Japan in the following week. Asked when he would return to his post, Shen yesterday said the date has yet to be decided.

Shen also said yesterday that Taiwan will continue to hold discussions with Japan on reopening bilateral fishery talks, although the recent developments in the Diaoyutais have caused Taiwan to reassess the matter.

The envoy said the 17th round of Taiwan-Japan talks on fishing rights were originally set for early October, but the nation now needs to reconsider that timetable in light of Japan's "nationalization" move.

Nonetheless, Taiwan will continue to communicate with Japan in order to determine the schedule and other matters related to the bilateral talks on fishing rights, he added.

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