The Republic of China (ROC) is to continue to pursue reconciliation and diplomacy with China because the government’s cross-strait policies have improved external relations and removed the “flashpoint” that existed in East Asia previously, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) told an international forum on Asia-Pacific security.
Lin delivered a luncheon addressed to an international audience at this year’s Asia-Pacific Security forum hosted by the Institute for National Policy Research, the US-based Pacific Forum-CSIS, the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies in the Philippines and Asia Center in France.
Lin said the ROC’s geopolitical role in the region was significant, located as it is in a pivotal position between the East China Sea and the South China Sea, as the world’s political and economic center of gravity shifts toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Lin said that the East China Sea peace initiative that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) proposed a year ago has been well received internationally. The initiative called for the parties concerned to put aside differences, pursue stability by conducting peaceful negotiations and then commit to sharing and developing resources.
“We hope that the initiative will help East Asia rid itself of turmoil and confrontation and add to Taiwan’s role as a peacemaker and responsible stakeholder in the region,” Lin said.
Citing the fisheries agreement Taiwan signed with Japan in April, Lin said that the initiative has provided “a critical solution for the seemingly intractable sovereignty disputes” arising from the rapid and dynamic development of the region.
Under the agreement, the rights and interests of Taiwanese fisherman were safeguarded, while neither Taiwan nor Japan was required to alter its stance on territorial and maritime claims to the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), Lin said.
“The key to the success of the East China Sea peace initiative lies in reciprocity and cooperation,” Lin said. “The ROC government is ready and willing to play the role of a dependable partner and hopefully, the same spirit and principle can be applied to South China Sea and other areas.”
Bobby Inman, a retired US admiral who has served as director of the US National Security Agency, delivered a keynote speech at the forum.
In the face of challenges ahead — the need for additional energy resources to sustain economic growth, the indisputable and continued warming of the planet, international narcotic trafficking and cybersecurity, among others — it is critical that countries involved adopt a multilateral approach to deal with the problems, Inman said.