President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday proposed a peace initiative to address territorial disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), urging neighboring countries to show restraint and settle the issue peacefully.
“We hope to use the East China Sea Peace Initiative to urge all sides to seriously face the possible impact of this territorial dispute on peace and security in the East China Sea,” Ma said.
Ma called on all parties to refrain from aggression, to shelve their differences, to maintain dialogue, to observe international law and to resolve the dispute by peaceful means. All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea, and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources in the region, he added.
Photot Mandy CHENG, AFP
All parties concerned should admit the existence of the dispute, while pursuing peaceful means to resolve it, he said during the opening ceremony of an exhibition in Taipei to mark the 60th anniversary of a peace treaty signed between the Republic of China and Japan following the second Sino-Japan War.
Ma, who described himself as a long-term activist in the local Diaoyutais movement since he was a university student, also reiterated the Republic of China’s (ROC) sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, which Taiwan considers to be under the jurisdiction of Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan.
Taiwan, Japan and China have been involved in heated disputes due to competing territorial claims over the Diaoyutais for several years.
Ma’s remarks also come at a time when Japan is moving toward nationalizing the Diaoyutais, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said Taiwan had notified Japan of Ma’s proposed peace initiative before the president brought up the idea at the ceremony. However, he added that the Japanese government had made no comment.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday recognized the “long overdue” peace initiative by Ma, but urged Ma to take concrete and cautious diplomatic actions over the Diaoyutai Islands dispute.
“It’s better to have a position than no position, but actions speak louder than words. We urge President Ma to take the necessary measures to back up his words,” DPP Department of International Affairs Director Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠) said.
The Ma administration, which said it would “not give one inch on the islands’ sovereignty” last month, should stop escalating tensions over the disputed islands, stop creating a false perception in the international community that Taiwan and China would “co-manage” the Diaoyutai issue and cautiously deal with Taiwan-Japan relations through diplomatic dialogue and negotiations, Liu said.
Liu said the Ma administration should shoulder part of the blame for rising tensions in the region by sending five coast guard vessels to escort a fishing boat full of activists waving a People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag in the waters around the Diaoyutais.
“It hurts Taiwan’s global image and makes other countries think that Taiwan stands on the same side as China,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a book-launching ceremony yesterday, former representative to Japan Lo Fu-chen (羅福全) said Ma’s effort to promote peace should be recognized, but the initiative was somewhat vague.
Lo, who was a representative to Japan between 2000 and 2004, when the DPP was in power, said he had not been able to fully grasp Ma’s definition of the East China Sea because there are many flashpoints in the region, including a dispute over undersea oil fields between China and Japan and a dispute over Takeshima, also known as Dokdo in Korean, between Japan and South Korea, in addition to the Diaoyutais.
Meanwhile, citing a code of conduct negotiated among Southeast Asian countries to make legally binding a commitment to peaceful resolutions of sovereignty disputes over the South China Sea, the ministry said Taiwan hoped a similar initiative could be negotiated to address disputes over the East China Sea.
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
SOVEREIGN NATION: The Chinese premier’s remarks about the CCP’s resolve to achieve unification sought to undermine the legitimacy of Taiwan, the MAC said Taiwan will never accept Beijing’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at its National Day celebrations in Beijing vowed to achieve unification with Taiwan. The CCP’s statement was not conducive to peaceful cross-strait relations, the council said. The event, hosted by the Chinese State Council, featured Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the other five CCP Politburo Standing Committee members and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山), as well as 500 guests from China and abroad. Taiwanese based in China also attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency
Washington is evaluating a transfer of weapons systems requested by Taiwan, according to a copy of a report by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) that is to be submitted to lawmakers tomorrow. Asked whether the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile would be among the weapons systems, the ministry refused to comment, but said that it would not rule out announcing the specifics later this year. The ministry’s domestically sourced high-priority military investments include submarines, next-generation light frigates, rescue ships, advanced trainer jets and infantry fighting vehicles, the report said. Planned deals include F-16A and F-16B jet performance upgrades, navigation and targeting
The Kaohsiung District Court has ordered a man to pay a convenience store NT$600 (US$18.83) in compensation for using his own mug to refill a pot of tea eggs, ruling against the store manager’s NT$1 million claim. In May, during the peak of a domestic COVID-19 surge, a man surnamed Lee (李) added water from his mug to a pot of tea eggs after seeing it was nearly dry. A clerk stopped Lee, then discarded all 60 eggs in the pot, worth an estimated NT$600, after consulting with the manager, it said. The manager sued Lee, demanding NT$1 million for damage to the