Ma asks Lee to apol­o­gize over Diaoyu­tais


Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou sub­mit­ted an open let­ter to the lo­cal China Times news­pa­per yesterday, claim­ing that for­mer Pres­i­dent Lee Teng-hui’s re­cent com­ments on the sovereignty of the Diaoyu­tai Is­lands were im­proper, and he should apol­o­gize to the peo­ple for his “in­dis­creet re­mark.”

In the let­ter, Ma states that ac­cord­ing to per­spec­tives of history, in­ter­na­tional law, ge­og­ra­phy and ge­ol­ogy, the Diaoyu­tai Is­lands clearly be­long to Tai­wan. Ma writes that Lee’s com­ment is un­true and vi­o­lates the Con­sti­tu­tion and in­ter­na­tional law. It also causes great harm to na­tional sov- ereignty and the peo­ple, to whom Lee ought to apol­o­gize.

Ma also points out that through in­clud­ing the area in Yi­lan County’s ju­ris­dic­tion in 1997, and in­clud­ing it in the ter­ri­to­rial base­line later on in 1999, Lee him­self made a dec­la­ra­tion of sovereignty over the Diaoyu­tai Is­lands as pres­i­dent. “Ac­cord­ing to his past ac­tions, for­mer Pres­i­dent Lee speaks to­day with great con­tra­dic­tion.” Ma says near the end of the let­ter.

The let­ter was writ­ten in re­sponse to Lee’s com­ments on the Diaoyu­tai Is­lands last week. Dur­ing Lee’s visit in Ja­pan, Lee was asked whether he claimed Diaoyu­tai Is­lands be­longs to Tai­wan or Ja­pan. Lee claimed that he has an­swered the ques­tion many times, stat­ing: “The Senkakus (Ja­panese term for the is­land) are not Tai­wanese ter­ri­tory, they be­long to Ja­pan.”

In the let­ter, Ma strongly asks Lee to apol­o­gize for his com­ment, stat­ing that no for­mer or fu­ture pres­i­dent should be al­lowed to show “neg­li­gence or be­trayal” when it comes to na­tional sovereignty. Yet in re­ply, the Lee’s spokesman Wang Yan-chun (

) said that“There is not much to re­spond to. Pres­i­dent Ma needs to study more.”

“For­mer Pres­i­dent Lee should take a good look at Pres­i­dent Ma’s let­ter,” pres­i­den­tial spokesman Charles Chen ( ) replied.

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