Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 1 News List

President visits disputed islands

SEA POWER The navy dispatched almost half its main warship strength plus a couple of submarines to provide protection for Chen Shui-bian on his trip to the Spratly Islands

By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Hsu Shao-hsuan and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS, WITH AGENCIES

The Declaration was signed in 2002 by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with the aim of maintaining peace and stability in the area.

Among the four points of Chen's "Spratly Initiative," he advocated peaceful means of resolving territorial and jurisdiction controversies and suggested countries concerned agree to recognize the region as an ecological protection area where the depletion of resources would be forbidden.

Chen proposed a plan to have international ecologists and environmentalists conduct research around the area of Dong-sha Atoll, Taiping Island, and Jhongjhou Reef on a regular basis.

Chen also suggested the establishment of a research center for use by non-governmental organizations from the countries concerned, which he said could serve as a second track diplomatic channel to discuss cooperation issues without interference from the sensitive sovereignty issue.

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