Territorial disputes in the East China Sea should be resolved through negotiation, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, dismissing claims that the government’s stance in asserting the nation’s sovereignty was weak.
“As a peace-loving country, it is necessary for Taiwan to seek solutions via peaceful measures. It’s not corny. It’s a proper attitude to handle international affairs,” he said at an international laws conference in Taipei.
The government has proposed an East China Sea peace initiative to handle disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) with Japan and China and Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, and countries that are affected by China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over an area of the sea should also resolve their issues via negotiation, he said.
Citing the government’s response to China’s air zone, Ma said his administration reiterated the nation’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands immediately following China’s declaration, while calling for neighboring countries to resolve their complaints via negotiations.
“Mainland China’s ADIZ does not involve air space or territorial sovereignty, but will affect aviation safety. That’s why I proposed concerned parties to begin bilateral negotiations regarding the ADIZ to avoid aviation accidents,” he said.
Ma’s peace initiative, proposed to resolve disputes over the Diaoyutais, calls on parties with conflicting claims to shelve territorial disputes, exercise self-restraint and maintain dialogue to resolve the territorial dispute.
Beijing’s move last month is viewed as upping the ante in China’s confrontation with Japan over the disputed islands chain. The air zone allows China to counter US and Japanese air and naval electronic reconnaissance measures in the area.
Japan and South Korea have ignored China’s demand to be notified about any flights passing through the zone and have sent military aircraft into the area.
Meanwhile, Ma said that the air force would continue its missions and training exercises within Taiwan’s air zone, and said the government will handle the issue of China’s air defense identification zone entirely in accordance with international regulations and accepted practice.
He has said that China’s air defense zone is not “helpful” for the development of cross-strait relations and promised that the government would urge Beijing not to demarcate a similar zone over the South China Sea.