Taiwan leader backs protesters in disputed East China Sea islands
TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's President Ma Ying Jeou on Tuesday voiced support for dozens of Taiwanese boats that entered territorial waters around bitterly disputed East China Sea islands to press Taipei's claim.
His comments came after dozens of Taiwanese fishing boats escorted by coastguard vessels traded water cannon fire with Japanese vessels around the the disputed islands claimed by Taipei, Tokyo and Beijing.
"President Ma supports the fishermen's patriotic actions and acknowledges the coastguard for claiming our sovereignty while protecting the fishermen," his office said in a statement.
"Ma urges the Japanese side to respect our fishermen's rights in their ancestral fishing ground... and hopes that all parties involved will peacefully resolve the disputes to share the resources in the East China Sea."