Taiwan's perspective on disputed islands

Taiwan's perspective on disputed islands
The Pagasa (Hope) Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea.

I wish to provide Taiwan's perspective in response to Dr Andy Ho's article ("What solution to China-Japan maritime dispute?"; May 9).

Geophysically, the Diaoyutai islands are undersea extensions of mountain ranges of the same island chain as Pengjia Islet of Taiwan.

Historically, the islands were officially incorporated into Qing China's territory in 1683, and placed under the jurisdiction of Kavalan Office (present-day Yilan county in north-east Taiwan).

The islands were not terra nullius when the Japanese Cabinet on Jan 14, 1895 secretly granted Okinawa prefecture permission to establish a national marker on the islands as a means of annexation. Japan's claim of sovereignty over the islands by virtue of "occupation" is invalid abinitio.

In addition, a national marker was erected by Japan only in 1969, following the eruption of the islands dispute.

The argument that Taiwan did not contest Japan's occupation of the islands from 1895 to 1971 is not true.

In 1895, the Diaoyutai islands appertaining to Taiwan were ceded to Japan according to the Treaty of Shimonoseki. As those islands became Japanese territories between 1895 and 1945, no other country challenged Japanese use of the islands.

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