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Taiwan president unveils disputed islands peace initiative

Publication Date : 06-08-2012


Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday proposed a peace initiative to address territorial disputes over the Tiaoyu Islands, urging neighbouring countries to show restraint and to seek peaceful means to settle the issue.

Under what he called “the East China Sea Peace Initiative”, Ma urged all parties to refrain from taking antagonistic actions, shelve controversies, observe international law and resolve disputes via peaceful means.

All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct in the East China Sea and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring resources in the region, the president told a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan.

Ma also reiterated Taiwan's claim to sovereignty over the islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan.

Taiwan, Japan and China have been involved in heated disputes due to competing territorial claims over the Tiaoyu Islands located in a resource-rich region for several years.

According to experts, Ma's remarks yesterday were effective in declaring Taiwan's stance to the international community concerning the controversy.

“Ma is voicing his hope to the United States and Japan that the Tiaoyu Islands issue can be resolved peacefully, at the same time expressing his stance to China that Taiwan will not back down from its declaration of sovereignty over the islands,” said Huang Chieh-cheng, assistant professor with Tamkang University and former vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council.

Ho Si-shen, Japanese professor with Fu Jen Catholic University, said Ma's intentions were to prevent the territorial row from escalating and to make the government's stance on this issue clearer.

“Ma wants the Tiaoyu Islands to become islands of opportunity, not catalyst of conflicts,” he said.

With reports from CNA


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