Taiwan lawmakers demand action against Japan for sinking boat

Other News Materials 11 June 2008 16:29 (UTC +04:00)

Taiwan opposition lawmakers Wednesday demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou get tough in dealing with Japan over the sinking of a Taiwanese boat by the Japanese coast guard near disputed islands in the East China Sea, reported dpa.

"Diaoyu Islands are part of our territory. President Ma must firm up and say something if the Japanese coast guard vessel is found to have deliberately rammed into the Taiwanese boat, causing it to sink," said Wang Sin-nan of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Wang said Ma has been known for his strong position on Taiwan's territorial claim over Diaoyu Islands since he was still a university student.

"But after the boat incident, he has yet to say a word about it," Wang said.

Members of the ruling Nationalist Party or Kuomintang also urged Ma's government to demand an explanation from Japan over the incident and protect the interests and rights of Taiwanese.

A fishing boat was chased by a Japanese coast guard vessel Tuesday when it sailed into waters 10 kilometers south of Diaoyu, called the Senkaku islands by the Japanese. The boat with 16 people on board sank as a result of the collision.

Japan delivered 13 fishermen rescued after the sinking to a Taiwanese coast guard vessel Wednesday, but held the three crewmen.

The lawmakers said the government must be more resolute in demanding that Japan speedily return the crew.

Taiwan's foreign ministry demanded Tuesday that Japan treat the crewmen properly and send them back as soon as possible. It also expressed concern over the coast guard's action that resulted in the sinking of the Taiwanese boat.

Taiwan and Japan do not have official diplomatic relations.

The ministry said both Japan and Taiwan sides would investigate the incident separately.