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Taiwan will not ask for recall of Japan representative: MOFA

Taiwan will not ask for recall of Japan representative: MOFA

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan will not demand that Japan recall its representative over remarks that the island’s status was unclear, while President Ma Ying-jeou emphasized Taiwan and Japan agreed in 1952 that the island belonged to the Republic of China.
Ruling Kuomintang lawmakers on Monday approved a motion demanding the government declare Masaki Saito persona non grata and Japan recall him.
Saito told the annual meeting of the Republic of China International Relations Association in Chiayi County on May 1 that Taiwan’s status was still unclear since the end of the Japanese occupation in 1945.
Vice Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia summoned him to lodge a protest and demand an explanation. Saito told him that the remarks were his personal opinion, and not the viewpoint of the Japanese government.
The Japanese office in Taipei, known as the Interchange Association, became the focus for street action by both supporters and opponents of Saito’s views.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party, during a meeting with Vice Foreign Minister David Lin Tuesday, said the Japanese representative’s views had been right.
Protesting against Saito while failing to emphasize Taiwan’s sovereignty could be interpreted as accepting that the island was part of the People’s Republic of China, DPP lawmaker Yeh Yi-jin argued.
President Ma said Tuesday that when Taiwan and Japan signed a peace treaty in 1952, they agreed that sovereignty over the island reverted to the Republic of China in 1945.
He was speaking during a visit to the Presidential Office Tuesday by a Japanese senator, who unusually was not accompanied by Saito, reports said.
Ma said that the government had designated 2009 as the year to promote the special partner relationship between Taiwan and Japan. The campaign included the establishing of a Taiwanese representative office in Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido.
Taiwan would also consider opening a cultural center in Tokyo and sending treasures from the National Palace Museum to exhibitions in Japan, Ma said.
The president also mentioned that fisheries talks between the two countries earlier this year had reached an agreement to put territorial disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands temporarily aside.
Ma’s term as president began with an incident last June in which a Japanese coastguard vessel rammed and sank a Taiwanese ship. Japan arrested the Taiwanese captain and only allowed him to return home after strong protests from Taipei.
The uninhabited rocky islands between Taiwan and Japan are controlled by Tokyo, but Taiwan considers them as part of Ilan County, while China also lays claim to them. The latest expedition in many years by Chinese nationalists to try and land on the islands and raise a flag was postponed Monday because of bad weather.
The Diaoyutai, known as Senkaku in Japanese, are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are believed to sit on top of oil reserves.