An air defense identification zone is an important line defining national sovereignty and national security, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday as he called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stand up to China.
His comments came following China’s demarcation on Saturday of an East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that includes the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
The Diaoyutais, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Archipelago in China, lie about 120 nautical miles (220km) northeast of Taipei and are also claimed by Taiwan and Japan.
China’s unilateral declaration of the ADIZ, which includes the Diaoyutais and verges on Taiwan’s Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼), is a strong act of provocation toward Taiwan and Japan, said Su, saying it is a ploy for China to increase its regional hegemony.
“If a national leader cannot stand firm and present a strong position, Taiwan is in danger of other nations trampling its sovereignty,” Su said. “The Diaoyutais belong to Taiwan and we cannot allow it to be harmed by any means that are dictatorial, unreasonable or damaging to regional peace and stability.”
The Ma administration later on Saturday held a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, which was attended by heads of the ministries of national defense, foreign affairs, the interior and the Mainland Affairs Council.
After the meeting, the NSC issued a statement saying Taiwan will stay in close contact with other concerned countries to ensure stability and peace in the region, calling for peaceful dialogue to deal with regional disputes and avoid escalating tensions.
The Republic of China (ROC) government reiterates and continues to safeguard its sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, the statement said.
“That stance will not be changed by China’s announcement of the East China Sea ADIZ,” it said.
Taiwan’s military will take measures to ensure the safety of ROC airspace under the principle of peaceful resolution, the NSC said, referring to Ma’s proposed East China Sea peace initiative in August last year, which calls on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and address the dispute by peaceful means.