U.S., Japan scholars welcome East China Sea code of conduct proposal
Central News Agency
2014-02-28 10:37 AM
Washington, Feb. 27 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou's proposal for a code of conduct in the East China Sea was welcomed by U.S. and Japanese scholars Thursday, with some of them urging countries in the region to follow Taiwan's lead in resolving disputes through peaceful means. At a seminar sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI), a think tank based in Washington, former deputy U.S. Secretary of State Richard Armitage called attention to Ma's proposal, saying it may be the only real attempt on the table in search of diplomatic solutions. Taiwan has peacefully resolved two thorny issues in recent months, he said, citing the signing of a fishery agreement with Japan and the resolution of a dispute with the Philippines over a fatal shooting incident. Ma is hoping these positive developments can be a signal to other countries in the region to try to solve their difficult issues in the same way, said Armitage, who met with the president during a visit to Taiwan last year. USJI Director Fumiaki Kubo also applauded Ma's proposal, saying it would be great to establish a code of conduct in other regions as well as in the South China Sea. A code of conduct for all countries in the region signifies the renunciation of any attempt to change the status quo by the use of force and is therefore important to stability, Kubo said. A code of conduct in the East China Sea should be drafted and implemented, he said. It does not mean that the Japanese government would recognize that the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands (the Diaoyutai Islands in Chinese) is disputed, he added. Tokyo has stated that the islands, which are under Japanese control, are undisputedly Japanese territory, a claim rejected by both China and Taiwan. David M. Lampton, professor of China Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said Taiwan's signing of a fishery agreement with Japan last April reminded him of the 1970s, when Japan was able to cooperate with its neighbors despite the sovereignty disputes. He hopes that both Japan and China will learn from the proposals that Ma has initiated in recent times, he said. In addition to these scholars, the U.S. administration has commended the proposal to seek peaceful resolution of disputes in line with international law, said Leo Lee, Taiwan's deputy representative to the United States. U.S. officials were apprised of Ma's latest proposal, he told reporters. At an international conference in Taipei Wednesday, Ma urged that multilateral negotiations be held to set up a code of conduct on the use of air space and waters in the East China Sea. He also called for the establishment of a multilateral negotiation mechanism in the region as soon as possible to address air defense identification zone (ADIZ) disputes, a move he said would promote cooperation and help achieve regional peace and prosperity. Drawing on the spirit of his East China Sea Peace Initiative, Ma also urged all sides involved to abide by international law and ensure freedom of flight in the region. The peace initiative, proposed by the president in August 2012, calls for all sides concerned to shelve differences and jointly explore resources to address territorial disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands. (By Tony Liao, Lin Shuyuan and Jay Chen)
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