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Taiwan protests new Japan claim to disputed isles

by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) April 1, 2011
Taiwan on Friday protested to Japan for making a fresh claim to sovereignty over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea and warned such a move would hurt ties.

"The government protests against the Japanese side for making unilateral and false claims to the Diaoyu islands in a new version of textbooks" released earlier this week, the foreign ministry said.

"The Diaoyu islands are part of our territory and we urge Japan to handle the issue rationally and prudently or risk damaging the friendly ties between Taiwan and Japan," it said in a statement.

The group of uninhabited islands -- called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China and Taiwan -- have been at the centre of a string of diplomatic spats between Tokyo, Beijing and Taipei in recent years.

China also claims the potentially resource rich island chain.

Last year, Taiwan's foreign ministry lodged a protest after a boat carrying local anti-Japan protesters heading for the islands was forced to turn back by Japanese patrol boats.

Japan and China were also embroiled in a bitter row around that time after Tokyo arrested Chinese fishermen for "illegal" fishing and said the Chinese boat rammed Japanese coastguard vessels during a chase.

Tokyo recognises Beijing rather than Taipei but maintains close trade ties with the island.

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