The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands.
HK activists vow to sail to Diaoyus this week
Diaoyu activists vowed to sail to the disputed islands again on Thursday or Friday, after government safety inspectors refused to approve the boat for immediate travel on Tuesday morning.
They made the vow as Lo Chau, owner of the fishing vessel Kai Fung No 2, travelled to Beijing with a lawyer on Tuesday. They plan to lodge a complaint in the capital’s district court against Japanese authorities, for detaining the boat and its passengers when they landed on the Diaoyus last month.
Another member of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, Tsang Kin-shing, was prevented from travelling with them because he did not have a home return permit.
Marine Department officers inspected the Kai Fung No 2 – damaged by a collision with Japanese vessels at the Diaoyus – on Monday afternoon. Although an officer told the activists the vessel had passed safety checks, the department said last night it needed further legal advice before the suspension of its licence could be lifted.
So Ping-chi, the department’s assistant director, confirmed early on Tuesday afternoon that the ship was safe to go, but said the department would need one or two days to process the information. “We’re just doing things according to procedures,” So said. “This isn’t slower or faster than other cases.”
Tsang accused the government of stalling and suppressing their activism. “[So] said the department would get back to us in one or two days. We will sail on Thursday or Friday, then. The suspension should be lifted because the boat is safe to go.”
Tsang said he regretted that he could not go to Beijing. The lawyer helping the activists said she was not sure whether the Beijing court would accept the case, because members of the public had never before sued a foreign authority in a mainland court.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government was handling marine matters according to the law.