The Republic of China (ROC) cannot afford to be absent from negotiations on disputes surrounding the South China Sea, because the nation has an important role to play in the region, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.
Ma made the remarks at the opening ceremony of an exhibition of historical material on the nation’s South China Sea territories, but he did not mention what he would do to overcome Taiwan’s exclusion from multilateral talks regarding South China Sea issues.
“We, on the one hand, are bound to defend the sovereignty of the nation over the region; and on the other hand, we have to seek solutions to [competing] sovereignty claims,” Ma said.
When it comes to solving problems in the South China Sea, it is important that concerned parties try to reduce tensions, rather than engage in head-on clashes like two trains crashing into each other, he said.
Ma reiterated his desire that his East China Sea peace initiative be applied to the South China Sea.
The initiative, which Ma proposed two years ago, urges China and Japan to shelve their territorial disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — known as the Senkakus in Japan — and focus efforts on developing natural resources in the disputed region.
The exhibit, hosted by the Ministry of the Interior and Academia Historica, contains 150 documents and maps as well as more than 300 photographs from government files and from soldiers who have served at South China Sea isles.
The exhibit at the Academia Historica in Taipei runs through Oct. 31. A second exhibit is to open in Greater Kaohsiung on Oct. 9, followed by one in Greater Taichung on Nov. 17.