East China Sea peace initiative lauded Down Under

The ROC government’s East China Sea peace initiative was praised in the upper house of the Australian Parliament by Queensland Sen. Mark Furner, according to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia Dec. 3.

In an address delivered Nov. 29, Furner said he believes the initiative will contribute to peace and stability in East Asia. It also replaces struggle with peaceful negotiations and promotes joint exploration and development of the area’s resources, he added.

Furner said all countries involved have entrenched positions on the sovereignty dispute, explaining why the ROC government is firm in defense of its rights, but seeks a diplomatic solution to the impasse.

The senator explained the historical background of the Diaoyutai Archipelago dispute, stressing that the islands are closer to the ROC than any other nation, and have long been a traditional Taiwan fishing ground.

Due to the location of the Diaoyutais at the center of shipping lanes and flight routes in the western Pacific, the archipelago is vital to global peace, not just to peace in Asia, Furner said. Only by putting aside disputes will it be possible to find a peaceful solution to the issue, he added.

The senator serves on the key Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade. He is also chairman of the Defense subcommittee.

Furner has a keen interest in East and South China Seas affairs, and visited Taiwan in September to deepen his understanding of the initiative.

Taiwan Today