Ma urges peaceful solution to Diaoyutai Islands dispute

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday again called for a peaceful solution to disputes over the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and said that the nation would not make any concessions on Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Ma, in a meeting at the Presidential Office with Jeremy Cohen, a professor of law at New York University’s School of Law, said that Taiwan and Japan are negotiating the fishing rights in the waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islets and the government expects the two nations, as well as China, to resolve the disputes though peaceful means.

“As I’ve proposed earlier this year, the three nations should solve the issue by starting with a ‘three-side bilateral dialogue,’ before moving on to trilateral talks. We hope that Taiwan, Japan and China can adopt peaceful measures to resolve the dispute,” he said.

Ma first proposed the “three-side bilateral dialogues” in September amid escalating tensions between the three nations over the sovereignty of the islands.

As a follow-up to his “East China Sea peace initiative,” Ma said the three nations should shelve their differences, pursue peace and reciprocity and jointly explore the natural resources in the area.

The East Asian Relations Association administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Interchange Association has held a preparatory meeting for the 17th Taiwan-Japan fishery talks, which is likely to be scheduled for some time in the spring.

Ma said the government will not rule out resolving the dispute via international meditation or lawsuits if necessary, but said the Japanese government has so far declined such a proposal.

Ma, who described himself as a long-term activist involved in the local Diaoyutais movement since he was a university student, stressed that academics in the US and Japan are supportive of his East China Sea peace initiative, and said the government will continue its efforts to promote a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute.