Tue, Aug 28, 2012 - Page 3 News List

DPP demand clarity on Diaoyutai talks

RESOLUTIONS NEEDED:The president said he would dispatch more patrols to the area and seek to prove Qing era claims over the disputed islands

By Chris Wang, Stacy Su and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter and Staff writers, with CNA

“However, when it comes to the Diaoyutais, Japan appears to take a different approach, and that is where we can express our opinions and work to seek resolution,” Ma said.

Saying that his administration would not rule out any approach in addressing the territorial disputes, Ma added that he was open to discuss the issue with other claimants through bilateral dialogue, provided that all parties put forward explicit objectives and detailed steps.

All concerned parties, including China and Japan, should participate in such a discussion, Ma said, adding that his peace initiative, which was previously criticized by many as “ineffective,” had received support by the international community.

Reiterating his stance — safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, peace and joint exploration — Ma called on all neighboring countries to set aside disputes and seek to resolve the matter through peaceful means, such as negotiation, mediation, arbitration and judicial settlement, as stated by the UN Charter.

“The Diaoyutais issue has reached a point where resolution is needed,” Ma said, adding that the government would enforce its defensive capacity by dispatching more coast guard patrol vessels, while soliciting more substantial evidence to prove that the Qing Dynasty was in fact in control of the island group before 1895.

Turning to national defense, Ma said the important part of the nation’s defense spending budget was not whether it reached 3 percent of GDP, but whether it is used in areas that make the most effective use of the funding.

Having promised in the presidential election in 2008 that the national defense budget would not drop below 3 percent of GDP, Ma said there was room to debate what was an appropriate, adequate level of national defense spending with warming cross-strait relations.

Acknowledging that the national defense budget in recent years has not met his promise of 3 percent of GDP, Ma said that every government agency had to figure out how to use the budget allotted it wisely.

Ma said he would meet Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) to review the Ministry of National Defenses expenditure on arms purchases.

Ma said the ministry would face extreme pressure from personnel funding, with the voluntary military service to be implemented in a few years, adding that the ministry needed to step up plans for the eventual replacement of compulsory service.

Measures to phase in voluntary service include the shortening of the service period to one year.

The military will face a personnel crunch, especially with the units that place an emphasis on technical skills, Ma said, but he said the implementation of voluntary military service is necessary.

Commenting on US concerns about Taiwan’s military budget, Ma said the US had expressed its concern because of its own large-scale downsizing of its military and hoped that countries which cooperate militarily with the US would help cover its part with their own military forces.

Despite two economic crises that had struck Taiwan in the past four years, the nation has still allotted a considerable sum to the ministry so that it can maintain national defense, Ma said.

Ma also commented on the DPP sending delegations to China.

While applauding the DPP’s willingness to allow China visits, Ma also said the DPP had done too little on the issue, adding that the personnel that they have sent to China are not high in the party’s structural organization.

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