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President, ex-president continue spat over Diaoyutais ownership

President, ex-president continue spat over Diaoyutais ownership

Taipei, Aug. 26 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (???)and former President Lee Teng-hui (???) challenged each other Wednesday to produce evidence to substantiate their conflicting claims on the sovereignty of the controversial Diaoyutai Islands off northeast Taiwan. Ma maintains that the islands are an integral part of the Republic of China's territory, while Lee is of the view that they belong to Japan. Lee Teng-hui should ask Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (???) about her views on the status of the Diaoyutai Islands, the Presidential Office said. Tsai, who is the DPP's presidential candidate and has Lee's full support, also considers the Diaoyutais as part of Taiwan's territory, Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (???) said, reiterating the Republic of China's sovereignty over the islands. With her academic background in international law, Tsai should be able to give Lee an explicit answer, Chen said. Chen also gave an account of the changes in the status of the Diaoyutais, from the Ming Dynasty in the 16th century to 1971 before the signing of the Okinawa Reversion Agreement between the United States and Japan. He pointed out that before signing the agreement, the U.S. notified the ROC that only administrative rights over the Diaoyutai Islands were being transferred to Japan, not sovereignty, and that the agreement had no effect on the ROC's sovereignty claim. During a visit to tea plantations in suburban Taipei, Lee and his wife were asked by reporters to respond to Chen's comments and a letter by Ma to the Washington Times on Aug. 23, in which the president accused Lee of betraying Taiwan by asserting that the islands are part of Japan's territory. Lee told the reporters that Ma should ask the U.S. whether the Diaotyutais belong to Taiwan or Japan. Ma should produce evidence in accordance with international law to prove his point, or if he could, he should send an army to take the islands, Lee said. Lee was quick to add, however, that the islands were not worth fighting over. "Is it necessary for Taiwanese and Japanese to kill each other for these small islets?" he said. "It would seem useless and unnecessary to the people." (By Wen Kui-hsiang, Hsieh Chia-chen, S.C. Chang and Lillian Lin)


Updated : 2021-09-18 00:00 GMT+08:00