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  • Taiwan concerned about Japanese activists' move near Diaoyutais

    Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) Taiwan expressed concern Sunday over a move by a group of Japanese activists to enter waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea earlier in the day, and reaffirmed Taiwan's sovereignty over the island chain.

    In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also urged all sides concerned to refrain from actions that could undermine peace and stability in the region.

    The ministry's remarks followed a Reuters report that five boats carrying about 20 members of a Japanese nationalist group arrived Sunday in waters near the Diaoyutais amid ongoing tension between Japan and China over a sovereignty dispute over the island group.

    The group did not plan to land on the uninhabited islands but said it wanted to send a message to China that the islands "are under Japanese control," the report said. The group, which departed from a port in Okinawa late the previous day, has headed back to port, Reuters reported.

    From the perspectives of history, geology and international law, the Diaoyutais are an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China, the ministry said.

    In light of the disputes over the islands in the resource-rich region, Taiwan has consistently advocated the principle of safeguarding sovereignty, shelving differences, seeking peace and reciprocity and pursuing joint exploration, and called for all parties concerned to respond to an East China Sea peace initiative proposed by Taiwan to address the issue peacefully, the ministry said.

    The peace initiative calls for all sides to shelve their differences and jointly explore and develop resources in the area.

    The Diaoyutais, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. They have been under Japan's administrative control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

    (By Elaine Hou)