BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- A mainland spokesman on Wednesday said that compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have concerted obligations to safeguard Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the Diaoyu Islands.
Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, made the remarks while responding to questions from journalists at a press conference.
Answering a question, Yang said China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters.
He said people from all walks of life on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are welcome to come up with suggestions regarding cross-Strait cooperation on the South China Sea issue.
"We will be happy to see discussions over the topic by enterprises and non-government organizations from both sides of the Taiwan Strait," he added.
The official was asked to comment on a report issued by scholars from both the mainland and Taiwan, which reportedly proposed including the South China Sea issue in topics for ARATS-SEF negotiations.
The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and its Taiwanese counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), are two organizations that have been entrusted to handle cross-Strait affairs by mainland and Taiwan authorities.
In his reply to another question, Yang said the Diaoyu Islands are an inherent part of Chinese territory, and people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have a concerted obligation to safeguard sovereignty over the islands. [ "It is also a concerted obligation for both the mainland and Taiwan to safeguard the fishing rights of fishermen from both sides in the waters around the Diaoyu Islands, a traditional fishing ground for them," Yang said.
He said the mainland's fishery administration and marine surveillance fleets had patrolled the waters around the Diaoyu Islands to conduct law enforcement activities and offer protection for the fishermen.
"The mainland will continue to do so to help fishermen from both sides of the Taiwan Strait," he added.