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Taiwan's President Visits Island to Assert Territorial Authority

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou, fifth from left, poses for a group photo in front of a monument reading: “Peace in the East China Sea and our national territory secure forever" during his visit to Pengjia Islet in the East China Sea, north of Taiwan, April 9, 2016.

Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, visited a remote island in the East China Sea Saturday to reassert Taiwan's sovereignty, and Taipei's role in the region where several islands are in dispute.

President Ma made a one-day trip to the island of Pengjia.

While Pengjia is not in dispute, it is the closest Taiwanese territory to islands claimed by China, Taiwan and Japan, known in China as Diaoyu and in Japan as Senkaku.

Ma unveiled a monument to reinforce the sovereignty of its territory. The monument is dedicated to the deal struck between Taiwan and Japan in 2013 on fishing rights around the islands.

Pengjia is a tiny island, about 55 kilometers north of Taiwan, with 40 residents, a weather station and a coast guard facility.

While Taipei generally takes a moderate stance in regard to territorial disputes, this is Ma's second trip this year that is meant to assert its authority.

In late January, Ma visited Taiping Island in the disputed Spratly Islands group, which are claimed by not only Taiwan and China, but also Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. During his visit he met with Taiwanese military personnel stationed on the island.