TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Saturday reiterated Taiwan’s sovereignty rights over the Diaoyutai Islands, called Senkaku Islands by Japan, amid a reported plan by a Japanese local government to change their district name.
The Diaoyutai Islands are “undoubtedly inherent parts of the Republic of China,” the formal name of Taiwan, the MOFA said in a statement on Saturday.
“The fact that our country has the sovereignty rights over the Diaoyutai Islands will not change because of any country’s attempt to alter their name,” the ministry said.
The statement was in response to a news report by Okinawa Times earlier in the day.
According to the report, the city council of Ishigaki-shi, a locality in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture which asserts jurisdiction over the disputed islands, is planning to vote Tuesday on whether to change Senkaku Islands’ district name from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku.
The MOFA said it is trying to seek clarification over the news report through channels in Taipei as well as in Tokyo and is expressing its concern to the Japanese side.
“Japan’s unilateral action to the Diaoyutai Islands is not helpful to the regional security and stability. We hope the Japan side handles the issue prudently,” the MOFA said.
The ministry urged Japan to exercise restraint and to avoid actions that will escalate tensions, while reiterating its position that the dispute should be resolved peacefully.
“Our government has placed importance on the development of the situation on Diaoyutai Islands and their surrounding waters and will continue to do so,”the MOFA said, stressing that Taiwan will take necessary actions to protect its sovereignty and the rights of its fishermen.