Taiwan Fishermen Plan to Sail to Disputed Islands
A group of Taiwanese fishermen are planning to sail this week to a disputed archipelago in the East China Sea at the center of a territorial row among Taiwan, China and Japan, a politician said Tuesday.
About 60 fishing boats each carrying five to six people are expected to head for the islands Saturday from a port in northeast Taiwan’s Ilan county, said Lin Chi-shan, a co-organizer of the event and a member of Ilan county council.
Lin said the move is aimed at pressing Taiwan’s sovereignty claim to the disputed islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.
The islands have long been at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China, and has sparked a major row after activists from both sides sailed to the archipelago last month.
Japan arrested 14 activists who sailed to the island from Hong Kong, triggering protests by China and Taiwan, and moved swiftly to deport them.
Days later, Japanese activists landed on one of the islands and raised a Japanese flag.
Tensions mounted after Japan announced last week it had completed a planned purchase of some of the islands, prompting Taiwan to recall its envoy to Tokyo and triggering mass protests in China.
The islands, which are around 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Japan’s Okinawa chain and about 200 kilometers from Taiwan, lie on vital shipping lanes and are believed to be located near potentially rich gas fields.