Plunge Pontificates

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"This land is my land, this land ain't your land..."

On the heals of disputes over islands between Japan and Seoul, China and Russia, comes the latest, an island dispute between Japan and Taiwan.

Defense Minister Lee Jye and parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng boarded the frigate in Suao on the northeast coast for the four-hour journey to the waters near a disputed group of mineral-rich islands claimed by Taiwan, China, and Japan.

"This area belongs to us historically, geographically and legally. There is no question about it," Wang told reporters before boarding on Tuesday.

"We must defend our sovereignty and protect our fishing rights," said Wang, who was accompanied by 15 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties.

Taiwan fishermen said they have been repeatedly driven away by Japanese patrol boats in what they said were their traditional fishing grounds. They have demanded government protection.

Speculation is that this is more because of potential gas deposits beneath the islands, but fishing seems to carry more weight.