President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called on all concerned parties to establish an East China Sea code of conduct in response to China’s move to assert its territorial claims in the region via the establishment of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
The proposed code of conduct would regulate the use of space and waters in the area and would be established via multilateral negotiations to address disputes over China’s zone, he said, adding that the concerned nations should work together to promote cooperation and achieve regional peace.
“To deal with the rising tensions in the East China Sea ... countries in the region should seek a consensus and set up a code of conduct to jointly develop the area’s resources,” he said yesterday at an international regional security conference in Taipei.
China’s zone has sparked worry in the region because it includes the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), which which lie about 120 nautical miles (220km) northeast of Taipei, and are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan, which calls them the Senkaku Islands.
Despite Beijing’s demand that it be notified about any flights or vessels passing through the zone, a US military aircraft has flown through the demarcated area, and Japan and South Korea have also sent military aircraft into the ADIZ recently.
Shortly after Beijing announced the zone in November last year, Ma reiterated Taiwan’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, while promoting the adoption of his East China Sea peace initiative, which urges all concerned parties to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations.
Ma reiterated the call to implement his initiative at yesterday’s conference, saying that it offers a creative solution to the territorial disputes.
He also stressed the government’s efforts to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait under his administration, citing the recent meeting between Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) in Nanjing, China — the highest-level meeting ever held between officials from the two sides of the Strait.
Responding to the president’s statements on the East China Sea, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) yesterday said that both sides of the Strait have a mutual responsibility to uphold the “fundamental interest of the Zhonghua people (中華民族).”
Beijing has said many times that the peoples on either side of the Strait are one family and it behooves both sides to look after the interests of the other, he said.