China’s demarcation of a new air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea is not a positive move in cross-strait relations, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, while urging neighboring countries to engage China in dialogue to restore calm in the region.
“[China] did not consult us before setting up the ADIZ, and such a move does not contribute to positive developments in cross-strait relations,” Ma said at a meeting with former US deputy secretary of state James Steinberg at the Presidential Office.
The government issued a statement reiterating the nation’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) shortly after China announced the air defense zone on Nov. 23, while promoting the president’s East China Sea peace initiative calling on related parties to resolve the dispute via negotiations, Ma said.
“Military exercises within the Republic of China’s ADIZ will not be affected by Mainland China’s move,” he added.
China’s announcement of the air defense zone has sparked controversy and drawn concern among its Asian neighbors, as the zone includes the disputed Diaoyutais, a chain of islands that China and Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, also claim.
Japan and South Korea ignored China’s demand to be notified about any flights passing through the zone and have sent military aircraft into the area in recent days, after US aircraft flew through it.
The issue of China’s ADIZ has also become a top issue during US Vice President Joe Biden’s current tour of Japan, China and South Korea, as he discussed the issue with leaders in the countries to reduce regional tensions.
Ma said neighboring countries should negotiate with China regarding the overlapping area in their respective air defense zones and seek to restore peace in the East China sea as soon as possible.
Steinberg has praised Ma’s East China Sea peace initiative as a model for other countries in the region to settle disputes, and said that the proposal had contributed to a fisheries’ agreement between Taiwan and Japan.
After drawing a new ADIZ over the East China Sea, China is reportedly planning the demarcation of another ADIZ over the South China Sea. The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said that the National Security Council has held a meeting with related government bodies, and is to communicate with China regarding the issue.
Ma yesterday also stressed the government’s efforts to strengthen relations with the US, and called on Washington to support Taipei’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership in line with the nation’s efforts to take part in the regional economic integration.