Taiwan Deputy Foreign Minister Tung kuo-yu expressed hope Oct. 19 that all parties concerned in disputes over the Diaoyutai Archipelago could jointly settle the issue with courage and intelligence.
Tung made the comments during the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ international seminar on the Diaoyutais at National Chung Hsing University in Taichung.
“Disagreements regarding the islands are affecting regional security and development,” he said. “We hope all sides involved can work together in reducing discord and leading their countries on the path of peace and cooperation.”
Tung noted that amid rising regional tensions in August, ROC President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the East China Sea peace initiative, calling for all parties to refrain from antagonistic actions; shelve controversies and not abandon dialogue; observe international law and resolve disputes through peaceful means; seek consensus on a code of conduct in the region; and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources.
On Sept. 7, the president unveiled guidelines for implementing the initiative in two stages: dialogue and talks, followed by cooperation on exploring and sharing natural resources, with collaboration on issues such as fisheries, mining, scientific research, marine environmental protection and maritime security, Tung said.
Yoshikazu Kato, research fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, applauded the spirit of the peace initiative, noting that the most important thing is for all sides to share this spirit.
Philip Y. M. Yang, deputy secretary-general of the ROC National Security Council, said peace should not come only through concessions, but should be based on the protection of inherent rights through dialogue, knowledge and law.
Tung reiterated that the ROC government will not budge on sovereignty over the Diaoyutais or the safeguarding of Taiwan’s fishing rights, nor will it work with mainland China on the issue. The administration’s initiative is the key to maintaining peace and stability in the East China Sea, he stressed.