(Taiwan Today) Support grows for East China Sea peace initiative

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September 14, 2012 by Water Wisdom

Publication Date:09/13/2012
Source: Taiwan Today
By Grace Kuo

Support grows for East China Sea peace initiative

ROC Coast Guard Administration cutters escort fishing boats to the Diaoyutai Archipelago Sept. 13. (CNA)
Scholars and politicians from the U.K. and U.S. called Sept. 12 for more international attention to ROC President Ma Ying-jeou’s East China Sea peace initiative.

Peter Brookes, senior fellow for national security affairs at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., said at a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing that the proposal is a good way to deal with disputes over the Diaoyutai Archipelago, and all parties should take it seriously.

While Taiwan and mainland China both regard the islands as part of their territory, he said, it is questionable whether Beijing will accept the initiative, but all sides should be willing to consider potential means of resolving disagreements.

Bonnie Glaser, senior fellow at U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, echoed Brookes at the hearing. Although it is difficult for Taiwan to play an important role in regional and international diplomatic activities, and discussions on a code of conduct for the South China Sea have unfortunately excluded Taiwan, the country still has a lot of room to exert its influence, she said.

Charles Tannock, chairman of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group, suggested that Ma’s proposal could provide a long-term resolution to the three-way dispute among Taiwan, Japan and mainland China, and permanently reduce tensions in East Asia.

The initiative, based on the principles of dialogue, no provocation and joint exploration, is in accordance with the EU’s security interests in the region, he pointed out.

After the Japanese government purchased and “nationalized” three of the Diaoyutais Sept. 11, Shen Ssu-tsun, ROC representative to Japan, was instructed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lodge a protest, and was recalled to Taiwan to report on the issue.

Upon his arrival in Taipei Sept. 12, Shen expressed hope that Japan would cherish its friendly relations with Taiwan, and called on Tokyo to take concrete measures to maintain peace and security in the region.

Local Diaoyutai activists protested against Japan’s move in front of the Japan Interchange Association Taipei Office in Taipei Sept. 12. “The Japanese government’s ‘nationalization’ of the Diaoyutais has damaged stability in East Asia,” an activist said. “We urge Japan to halt its illegal occupation of the islands.”

In response to the Japanese action, the Cabinet-level ROC Coast Guard Administration said its regular missions protecting Taiwanese fishermen operating in waters near the Diaoyutais will continue. The CGA noted that it has arranged for two cutters, the 500-ton Lienchiang and 600-ton Hualien, to take part in a drill escorting fishing boats to the area Sept. 13. (THN)

Write to Grace Kuo at mlkuo@mofa.gov.tw

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