Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) made a proposal for resolving the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) during a visit to New York on Sunday, saying that all the claimants should agree not to develop the resources in the area.
She also suggested establishing a peace zone, extending 12 nautical miles (22.2km) from the Diaoyutais, within which no military or nuclear activities would be allowed.
Lu told Chinese-language media in New York that her ideas on the issue are similar to those presented by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in his East China Sea peace initiative last year, except that she does not think there should be any moves toward jointly developing the rich natural resources in the area.
Once such development starts, “national interests will definitely surface,” destroying any agreements, Lu said.
The Diaoyutais, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島) in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan and are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China.
Lu said she supports Ma’s peace initiative, in which he advocates shelving all sovereignty disputes over the East China Sea island chain until the claimants reach an acceptable and peaceful resolution.
She said the disputed area should be designated as a marine conservation zone that would serve as a natural marine park for future generations.
She is in New York on the second leg of a two-week visit to the US that began with a stop in Seattle, Washington.
Lu is scheduled to meet Taiwanese expatriates in New York and give speeches at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Universal Peace Federation on her vision for the development of the Asia-Pacific region.
Also on her itinerary was a meeting yesterday with Taiwanese-Canadian fashion designer Jason Wu (吳季剛), who shot to fame in 2009, when US first lady Michelle Obama wore one his designs at the presidential inaugural ball.
During the meeting, Lu is expected to invite Wu to design “an energy-efficient shirt with Taiwanese characteristics.”
It should be a functional shirt that would be comfortable to wear to work and would keep the wearer cool in the summer, she said.
With Wu’s reputation, such a shirt would not only help promote Taiwan in the international community, but also help save energy because it would reduce the need for heavy use of air conditioners in offices, Lu said.
The idea is part of her campaign for a nuclear-free homeland in Taiwan, she said.