Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou’s East China Sea peace initiative is a feasible and pragmatic approach to resolving disputes in the region, said Alan Romberg, director of the Henry L. Stimson Center’s East Asia Program, Aug. 7 in Washington.
The initiative, unveiled Aug. 5, calls for Tokyo and Beijing, along with Taipei, to refrain from antagonistic actions involving the Diaoyutai Archipelago; shelve controversies and maintain dialogue; observe international law and resolve disputes through peaceful means; create a code of conduct for the region; and set up a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources.
Ma’s proposal could provide ways to avoid conflict in the region and promote peace, Romberg said. Whether a diplomatic mechanism and code of conduct can be established remains to be seen, however, as the dispute is a very complex and sensitive one, he added.
Romberg noted that although some countries may reject the proposal, somebody has to take the lead to achieve progress in finding a peaceful resolution to territorial disputes in the region.
ROC Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew N.D. Yang, speaking in an unofficial capacity at the Stimson Center the same day, reaffirmed that the Diaoyutais are an inherent part of ROC territory, and the government has a responsibility to defend them.
Yang said the ROC and Japan have tacitly agreed to a “tentative enforcement line” within their overlapping exclusive economic waters near the Diaoyutais, located roughly 170 kilometers northeast of Taiwan proper.
“The ROC carries out patrols in the region according to this delineation of jurisdiction, as does Japan,” he said. “There are no problems with the enforcement of maritime law.”