TAIPEI – A Taiwan-based group of activists petitioned the Japanese government on Monday to dismantle facilities recently established on the Senkaku Islands.
Huang Shi-lin, head of the group billing itself as the “league of Chinese around the world to protect the Tiaoyutai Islands,” told reporters outside Tokyo’s de facto mission in Taipei that last year Japan built a wharf and lighthouse on the disputed islets in the East China Sea. Tiaoyutai is the name Taiwanese use for the small island chain, while China uses the name Diaoyu.
“We are asking the Interchange Association to convey our demand to the Japanese government for the removal of the Japanese flags and facilities on Tiaoyutai in the shortest time and admit their mistake,” he said after presenting the petition to the mission.
Describing the setting up of the facilities as a provocative act that violated the Taiwan-Japan fisheries pact, Huang said he wants Tokyo to honor the deal, which bans both sides from entering contested waters closer to the islands.
The landmark pact, signed in April 2013, allows Taiwanese and Japanese fishing trawlers to operate in designated areas in Japan’s exclusive economic zone as jointly managed waters where reciprocal fishing is allowed.
However, the jointly controlled zone excludes waters 12 nautical miles surrounding the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands.
If the demand is ignored, Huang did not rule out landing on one of the islets without prior notice in the near future.
He said the group purchased a boat last month.
“We also have Jet Skis. We are ready,” he said. “We are gentlemen first and soldiers second. If politeness fails, we will resort to force.”
Huang said his group hopes Japan will meet their demand “in the warm spring when all the flowers bloom.”