Taiwan's Ma asks former president to apologise

Taiwan's Ma asks former president to apologise
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan - President Ma Ying-jeou submitted an open letter to the local China Times newspaper yesterday, claiming that former President Lee Teng-hui's recent comments on the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands were improper, and he should apologize to the people for his "indiscreet remark."

In the letter, Ma states that according to perspectives of history, international law, geography and geology, the Diaoyutai Islands clearly belong to Taiwan. Ma writes that Lee's comment is untrue and violates the Constitution and international law. It also causes great harm to national sovereignty and the people, to whom Lee ought to apologize.

Ma also points out that through including the area in Yilan County's jurisdiction in 1997, and including it in the territorial baseline later on in 1999, Lee himself made a declaration of sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands as president."According to his past actions, former President Lee speaks today with great contradiction." Ma says near the end of the letter.

The letter was written in response to Lee's comments on the Diaoyutai Islands last week. During Lee's visit in Japan, Lee was asked whether he claimed Diaoyutai Islands belongs to Taiwan or Japan. Lee claimed that he has answered the question many times, stating: "The Senkakus (Japanese term for the island) are not Taiwanese territory, they belong to Japan."

In the letter, Ma strongly asks Lee to apologize for his comment, stating that no former or future president should be allowed to show "negligence or betrayal" when it comes to national sovereignty. Yet in reply, the Lee's spokesman Wang Yan-chun said that"There is not much to respond to. President Ma needs to study more."

"Former President Lee should take a good look at President Ma's letter," presidential spokesman Charles Chen replied.

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