The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday condemned statements made by Tokyo’s governor indicating that his administration intends to purchase a group of islands in the East China Sea claimed by Taiwan.
“The Tiaoyutai Islands are the inherent territory of the Republic of China and we have sovereignty over them,” said ministry spokesman James Chang.
The ministry does not recognise the statements made by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, Chang said at a routine press briefing.
The spokesman urged Japanese authorities to “handle the matter cautiously, as the friendly ties between Taiwan and Japan could be harmed by any unilateral actions.”
Chang’s statements came a day after Ishihara said Tokyo has been negotiating with private owners of the islands and is close to reaching an agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Tokyo has decided to buy the Senkaku Islands. Tokyo is going to protect the Senkakus,” the journal quoted Ishihara as saying in a speech he made in Washington.
The Tiaoyutai Islands, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. The island group is also claimed by China and Japan.
Earlier this year, the ministry lodged several protests over Tokyo’s move to name unnamed islands in the archipelago.