Foreign experts on marine law, policy and sciences yesterday gathered in Kaohsiung for the International Dongsha Conference, where an Indonesian expert urged nations in the South China Sea area — including Taiwan and China — to conduct “informal” research programs together.
The two-day conference on the Pratas Islands, which Taiwan calls the Dongsha Islands (東沙群島) and administers as a national park, opened on Thursday.
On the first day, Ocean Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chuang Ching-ta (莊慶達) accompanied Kiribati Ambassador to Taiwan Tessie Eria Lambourne; Thailand Trade and Economic Office Executive Director Thongchai Chasawath; and nearly 70 experts from the US, UK, Canada, Belgium, Japan, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines on a visit to the atoll.
It was the first international meeting hosted by the council since its creation on April 28 last year, council Minister Lee Chung-wei (李仲威) told the gathering in Kaohsiung yesterday.
That conference aimed to promote Taiwan’s ecological conservation efforts on the atoll and included speeches related to marine law and policy, ocean research, maritime industry and culture, he said.
How to promote joint research projects became a focal issue during the first panel discussion coordinated by Lin Cheng-yi (林正義), director of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a think tank inaugurated last year by the Ministry of National Defense.
Hasjim Djalal, a former Indonesian ambassador to the UN and founder of Indonesia’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, raised concerns over the problem of marine waste, citing as examples the Philippines’ and Malaysia’s refusals to import plastic waste from other countries.
He urged nations in the region to undertake informal scientific research dealing with the marine environment and biodiversity without touching on territorial disputes.
From the audience, Academia Sinica Institute of European and American Studies research fellow Song Yann-huei (宋燕輝) asked Djalal if Indonesia would invite US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to attend the 30th Workshop on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea next year.
The anniversary should be marked by the attendance of higher authorities from across the globe, Song said, adding that Taiwanese experts have informally participated in the workshop since 1991.
Djalal said that they would invite those interested in attending the meeting, but have not yet decided on the invitees.
As China and ASEAN members are drafting a South China Sea code of conduct, Taiwan should voice its desire to join the code or assert its importance in the region through other ways, Song said.
Even if Taiwan claims the Pratas Islands and Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島), it might be rejected from regional collaboration, such as law enforcement and disaster rescue efforts, if it does not play a part in the code, he said.
Lacking direct access to the draft code, the council has been collecting related information through think tanks and other channels, Department of International Development Director Joseph Hsieh (謝亞杰) said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the