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Bad weather spoils group’s plan to land on Senkaku

Date Posted: 2003-02-15

A group of small, uninhabited islands between Taiwan and Ishigaki known as Senkaku Islands has been a sore point in relations between China, Taiwan and Japan for many years. All claim sovereignty over the territory. The islands are generally considered to be a part of Japan, but both Taiwan and China claim otherwise.

Passions on all sides run high. When a rightist group erected a makeshift lighthouse on one of the islands in 1987, newspapers in both Taiwan and China were furious. A journalist from Hong Kong drowned last year when he fell overboard as the boat he was riding on was rammed by a Japanese coast guard boat preventing the Chinese from landing on one of the islands.

Representatiaves of the group that had erected the lighthouse arrived at Ishigaki last weekend intending to repair the structure. They could not make the trip, however, because of bad weather. Pundits say the delay probably made many bureaucrats in the Japanese foreign ministry let out a sigh of relief, at least for now. The group, on its part, is adamant. “We will go and check the lighthouse and make sure that it works as soon as the weather permits. We have the right to do that,” a member of the group said.

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