Activists plan helicopter landing on Diaoyu Islands
Taiwan activists opposed to Japan's control of the Diaoyu Islands yesterday unveiled plans to make an October 25 helicopter landing on the archipelago.
Feng Fu-hsiang , a National Assembly deputy from the opposition New Party and secretary-general of the Taipei-based Protect the Diaoyus Alliance, urged the Government not to block the group from taking off. Taipei should let the protesters face Japanese authorities on their own, he said.
The plans follow last week's successful landing on the Diaoyus by members of a joint Taiwan-Hong Kong flotilla, which evaded 50 Japanese coastguard patrol boats and planted flags on one of the islands.
Members of the alliance and the newly formed New Air Force, comprising retired air force personnel, announced their plans yesterday.
Mr Feng said the New Air Force would attempt to rent two 16-seater helicopters for a voyage to the Diaoyus on October 25, the 51st anniversary of Taiwan's move back to rule by Chinese.
Taiwan was ruled by Japan as a colony for 50 years between 1895 and 1945.
'Last time, we demonstrated that the waters surrounding the Diaoyus are our territorial waters, and that the Diaoyu Islands themselves are our territory,' Mr Feng said.
'This time, we want to show that the air over the Diaoyus is our territorial airspace.' If permission to fly is granted, the helicopters will attempt to land on the Diaoyus, or at least drop a flag on one of the islands, he said.
'If forced to land [by Japanese authorities], then you can land on the Diaoyus,' Mr Feng said. 'If there are arrests after landing, then our friends and colleagues in the Protect the Diaoyus movement are determined to make it an international controversy.' Authorities at Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration were unavailable for comment yesterday. But Taipei County Council deputy Kin Chieh-shou , who led last week's successful sea expedition, said 'the Government will make all kinds of excuses to try to block the trip from proceeding'.
The group would file its flight-path request with aviation authorities today, Mr Kin said.
Hong Kong activists were not likely to take part this time, he said. Controversy erupted in Taiwan last week after Hong Kong activist Chan Yu-nam, who accompanied Mr Kin's expedition to the Diaoyus, planted a Chinese national flag on one of the islands.