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  • Disputed Diaoyutai Islands not for sale: Interior Ministry

    Taipei, April 18 (CNA) Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands is unquestionable, and the Tokyo governor's remark that his city intends to purchase the archipelago is nothing more than the governor's personal opinion, which is totally unacceptable to the Republic of China, Vice Interior Minister Tseng Chung-ming said Wednesday.

    The ministry's Department of Land Administration said that although the price of the land there is only around NT$190 (US$6.4) per square meter, the uninhabited islands are priceless due to their political significance.

    The Coast Guard Administration noted that it dispatches ships to patrol around the archipelago and to protect Taiwanese fishing boats during their operations in the area every day.

    The administration said it will also provide protection for activists who make trips to the islands to underline Taiwan's territorial claim.

    The responses were made after Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said earlier in the week that Tokyo has been negotiating with what the Wall Street Journal has described as the "private owners" of the islands and is close to reaching an agreement.

    "Tokyo has decided to buy the Senkaku Islands. Tokyo is going to protect the Senkakus," the newspaper quoted Ishihara as saying in a speech delivered in Washington.

    The Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan in the East China Sea. The island group is also claimed by China and Japan.

    (By Hsieh Chia-chen, Chen Wei-ting and Jamie Wang)