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Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008

Time to end Senkaku dispute: Wu


Staff writer

Japan and Taiwan should work to settle their territorial dispute in a peaceful manner and strengthen bilateral cooperation for the development of the East China Sea, the chairman of Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party said Wednesday in Tokyo.

"Our position is very clear" regarding Taiwan's claim of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Wu Poh-hsiung, head of the party also known as Kuomintang, reiterated during a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. But the two sides "should avoid any conflict," he added.

Tokyo lodged a complaint with Beijing after two Chinese survey ships were spotted Monday inside Japan's territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands. A collision in June between a Taiwanese sport fishing boat and a Japan Coast Guard vessel near the islets also strained Taipei-Tokyo ties.

Japan, China and Taiwan all claim sovereignty over the Japan-administered islets.

Wu, whose visit to Tokyo is the first-ever by a leader of a ruling Taiwanese party, was involved in a historic meeting in China with Chinese President Hu Jintao in May. The meeting brought together the heads of China's and Taiwan's ruling parties for the first time in over half a century.

Regarding concerns that stronger ties across the Taiwan Strait may weaken ties between Tokyo and Taipei, Wu acknowledged that communication and exchanges between the Nationalist Party and the Japanese government were "insufficient" during the eight years his party was out of power. But he stressed that the two countries share basic democratic values and ties with Tokyo will remain strong.

Wu, who said he supports China's position on the issue of Tibet's demand for autonomy, noted the improved relations between China and Taiwan contribute to stability in the Asia-Pacific region. But he added that negotiations on unification with China will not take place during Ma Ying-jeou's presidency.



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The Japan Times

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