Exclusive | Diaoyutai Islands belong to Taiwan: KMT chief

KMT Chairman stresses the necessity to reassert Taiwanese sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands

KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang is seen alongside the Diaoyutai Islands claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China in this undated photo collage (AP/CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — Taiwan must reiterate its claim over the Diaoyutai Islands, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said on Tuesday amid Japan’s decision a day earlier to rename the area covering them.

Although “there is no way to prevent the name change as it was already passed by the city council,” it is still imperative that Taiwan continues to reiterate its sovereignty to countries other than Japan, he told The China Post in an exclusive interview.

If Taiwan fails to reassert itself into the dispute, authorities may find themselves having a hard time fighting for the territories’ sovereignty in the future, he said.

In other words, Taiwan’s “silence” could be seen as a “sign of its withdrawal of interest,” he added.

The KMT chief further called on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to send a strong message to the world that Taiwan will not back out on its own territory.

The local fishermen who rely on the area for a living are another justification for Taiwan’s involvement, he continued.

Taiwan and Japan had previously reached an agreement in 2012, allowing Taiwan’s fishermen to fish on the Islands’ 12-nautical–mile territorial waters without being “harassed” by Japanese coastguards.

The new decision to rename the area covering the Senkaku Islands from “Tonoshiro” to “Tonoshiro Senkaku” could result in more trouble for Taiwanese fishermen after Oct. 1 when it will come into effect on.

According to the KMT chief, the government has yet to discuss how it plans to deal with the increasing tensions between Taiwan, Japan and China as a result of the name change and how it plans to protect Taiwanese fishermen in the area.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that the “Diaoyu and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory, and China is determined and resolved in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty.”