Taiwan formula may settle sea dispute


TAIPEI: A Taiwanese official has called for a peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

Joseph S.C. Hua, director-general of Taiwan’s Department of Cultural and Educational Affairs at the Mainland Affairs Council, on Wednesday said Taiwan’s peaceful approach to resolving maritime disputes with Japan and the Philippines “can be applied in settling issues in the South China Sea to create a winning situation for all parties.”

“In fact, [Taiwanese] President Ma [Ying-jeou] already said the countries involved in the South China Sea could also use his formula [in settling maritime issues]in East China Sea,” Hua told The Manila Times.

He was referring to President Ma’s proposal, the East China Sea Peace Initiative, which aims to address disputes over the Diaoyutais, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan.

The island group, which is also being claimed by China and Taiwan, has been under Japan’s administrative control since 1972.

The peace initiative calls for parties concerned to shelve differences and jointly explore resources.

After Ma proposed the initiative, Taiwan has taken a similar approach to dealing with fishing disputes with the Philippines, with both countries negotiating an agreement on cooperation in maritime law enforcement in their overlapping economic waters.

“The main goal of this initiative is to have multilateral talks between concerning parties to resolve the issues in a peaceful way,” Hua said.

But he pointed out that “Taiwan is not giving up its territorial claim over Senkaku Islands.”
“It’s not the case. But it is a hope that concerned parties could sit down and talk to resolve their disputes,” Hua said.

He cited as a “good example” the fishery agreement between Taiwan and Japan that was signed last April. This allows fishermen from both countries to operate in a designated area of their overlapping economic waters in the East China Sea to resolve long-standing disputes.

“We hope this could be applied to the South China Sea. Like I said, no unification, no use of force and the issues in the region, whether political or economic could be resolved in a peaceful way,” Hua said.

He added that Taiwan also called for continuation of talks for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea between the Asean and China.

“We hope the COC could be established among parties concerned to govern such standoffs at sea,” Hua said.

The South China Sea has become a hotbed of political tensions between surrounding nations, with overlapping claims by six parties (including Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Taiwan) centered mostly around fishing and oil rights.

Manila, which calls part of the disputed areas the West Philippine Sea, has sought international arbitration before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos).
It has asked the Itlos to nullify China’s massive claims over the South China Sea.

The Philippines already has alliances with the United States and Japan, who have also been critical of perceived Chinese expansionist moves in the South China Sea.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd is expected to raise China’s aggression, particularly its massive reclamation activities on contested islands and reefs in the South China Sea in this week’s Asean Summit.

Aquino will again call for the crafting of a formal Code of Conduct that would govern nations’ actions in the South China Sea.

“We will reiterate our call for the formulation of the Code of Conduct. This was tried in 2002, but this was not done. The DOC [Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea], came out, and in our view, this is being violated. That’s why it’s imperative to push for the Code of Conduct,” he said.

Malacañang also on Wednesday chided China for its “insecurity” over its claim to the West Philippine Sea, after a Beijing-based tabloid dubbed the country a “cute little submissive” of the United States.

The response from President Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda came after the Global Times newspaper — with close ties to the ruling Communist Party — featured an editorial on Tuesday saying it was “laughable” imagining Philippine personnel “stumbling after US forces.”

“We don’t understand where this insecurity of the Chinese toward us is coming from. Where do we have the wherewithal to compete against China as a superpower?” Lacierda said.

He defended the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) military exercises between the Philippines and the United States that began this week, saying these were regular events not related to the territorial dispute with China.



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  1. To Hell with Taiwan. Why are they involved at Kalayaan Island at all.
    The entire ASEAN countries should be involved here. Its time that all of this
    areas be free from any exploration and fishing including the Philippines.
    Let those fishes go back to where they have to go. All the coral reefs
    should be protected that is the bottom line.

  2. Pnoy is of chinese descent. and as such, he let his fellow chinese come in to the country and allowed them to build in our so called “claimed territories”.

  3. AFP modernization is the only solution. send more troops in our occupied islets, reefs and patrol boats. build military garrisons and missiles in our occupied territories in WPS, if you can’t beat them join them. china keeps on building structures then lets do the same. why negotiate when they will not really give up their claims?

    • Simple…. build the new Bilibid Prison in one of the islands we are claiming…. the farther from the mainland Pinas the better.

  4. The only way to deal with the Chinese bullies is to fight them. If we have fought the the Spanish, Americans and Japanese why can’t we fight the Chinese. They have already encroached in our territory for heaven sake!. The next thing is they’ll take the whole country. We should not wait and see. Let’s get our navy escort our fishing vessels. Let’s reclaim some of the shoal close to our country. These is in addition to our filing case to ITLOS.

    • Ande Llorente on

      Precisely, Abnoy was responsible for letting the Chinese shooed away the Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and DID nothing .. and NOW the Chinese are building military garrison at the area… this is pathetic and this Noynoying President is derelict in his duty as the leader of the Philippines…no wonder he is being called a “lame duck ” or maybe a “chicken”…..the Chinese is not after fishing only, China wants the whole South China Sea as their “swimming pool”….
      However, there is still time if our leaders have the “guts” and the “will” to do it NOW….
      The Philippines has more than 100 shipyards willing and able to build ships…and besides this will create jobs for the Filipino engineers, architects, electricians and welders, etc…INSTEAD of building destroyers or frigates which are expensive, why not build guided missile multi-purpose patrol crafts…at least 1700 (one for each island) …missile guided patrol crafts….. they are faster, agile, maneuverable and less crew to operate…however, they must be armed with modern and technologically advance missile weapons system….and manned by tech savvy and courageous Navy/Coast Guard crews. In addition, an additional contingent of “special forces” like the U.S. Seal Team must be on board….With a “swarm” of these missile gunboats, Chinese Coast Guard ships will think twice before they “harass” or “bully” the Philippine troops. THESE PATROL CRAFTS MUST BE BUILD NOW !!!!!

  5. Other than war, the solution is bilateral talks. No arbitration council/panel can bind nor force any country to abide by its decision in territorial disputes.

  6. Good idea but the problem is that China cannot be trusted the dont respect their neigbors terrirtorial water.Greedy,taking over the fishing ground that our fisherman fish for their livelihood.Thieves,stealing reefs inside our territorial water.Maybe they think they will be strong forever.

  7. mel amarillo on

    If Mr. Joseph Hua’s proposal will work, What will happen to the case the Philippines filed at the International Tribunal? Withdraw the case and talk to China bilaterally? I think this is bad.

  8. sonny dela cruz on

    I agree with Mr. Joseph S.C. Hua’s proposal and maybe it will work. The Philippines should lead and call for a summit between China and the Philippines for a bilateral talks between them regarding fishing,exploration and development in the region of dispute. Japan and the United states as an invited observer together with Taiwan as the principal to plan the summit between China and the Philippines. This will untie the tension and avoid any armed conflict in the west Philippine sea. Other nation claimants may do it by themselves if the summit may result in a better understanding between China and the Philippines.

    • Mr. Hua is just another puppet of the mainland Chinese. There should be no appeasement of the mainland Chinese politburo members. Many Chinese are against their government policy of expansionism and ruling of their country. Expansion is what they’re doing north, south, east and west of their country. They’re building more aircraft carriers to challenge other countries of their ambition. History repeats itself. This is what they did during the Qing Dynasty. Built the massive great wall and so many other fortifications. What they did is to redraw the map of China to include all of the South China Sea. It’s time for the world to act!