President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration spent an estimated half million US dollars to place full page advertisements in four leading US newspapers on Wednesday, which coincided with Double Ten National Day.
Heavy, dense and filled with hard-to-read type, the identical ads took the form of a closely argued 10-point claim to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台). They ended with an appeal to the US government and people to support Ma’s peace initiative.
According to newspaper sources, the three-color ads cost about US$175,000 in the Wall Street Journal; US$150,000 in the New York Times; US$100,000 in the Washington Post and US$75,000 in the Los Angeles Times.
Known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the islands have been under Tokyo’s control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taipei and Beijing.
The ads were headed: “The Republic of China (Taiwan) Proposes: The East China Sea Peace Initiative,” and said that a major dispute with potentially grave consequences “to regional peace and economic prosperity” was now raging around the islands.
Steps to reduce tension and foster peace need to be taken immediately, the ads said. They detailed Ma’s two-stage East China Sea peace initiative, based on the concept that while sovereignty is indivisible, “resources can be shared.” The initiative calls on China and Japan to join Taiwan in shelving territorial disputes through negotiations, formulating a Code of Conduct in the East China Sea and engaging in joint development of resources.
“Over the long run, we can move from three parallel tracks of bilateral dialogue (between Taiwan and Japan, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, and Japan and the mainland) to one track of trilateral negotiations,” the ads read.
They called for five key actions — development of an East China Sea code of conduct; joint conservation and management of living resources; joint exploration and exploitation of the non-living resources; joint marine scientific research and protection of the maritime environment and joint exercises to maintain conventional and unconventional security.
The ads were placed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.