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Taiwan urged to push harder for peace initiative over Diaoyutais

ROC Central News Agency

2012/12/18 21:54:58

Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) Taiwan should continue to push for a peace initiative aimed at addressing the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea, scholars said at a symposium in Taipei Tuesday.

The East China Sea peace initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou in August 'is certainly a useful starting point,' said Dean Cheng, a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.

In response to a question on Ma's proposal, Cheng said he hopes this will be an issue that will continue to be pushed by Taipei, but added that it remains to be seen whether the initiative will gain traction from Japan and China.

Cheng's remarks came during a one-day conference on Taiwan-U.S.-Japan trilateral economic dialogue. Organized by the Taipei-based Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research and the Heritage Foundation, it was attended by more than 20 scholars, experts and officials from the three countries.

He also described the peace initiative as something that differentiates Taipei form Beijing as it presents a more peaceful, less confrontational approach than the one China has adopted.

During the same session, Joseph Bosco, a senior associate at the Washington-headquartered Center for Strategic and International Studies, also threw his support behind Ma's initiative, which he said was a different approach from that of China.

Ma advocates peaceful discussion and negotiation, while China asserts its right to use force to address the Diaoyutais dispute, he said.

'Taiwan is acting like a responsible member of the international community,' he said. 'It would be good if China would do the same.'

The uninhabited Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. The island group has been under Japan's administrative control since 1972, but is also claimed by Taiwan and China.

Amid tension in the East China Sea, Ma proposed his initiative in early August, which calls on all parties involved to refrain from taking hostile action, to shelve their differences, to not abandon dialogue, to observe international law and to resolve the dispute via peaceful means.

(By Elaine Hou)
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