Share resources, even if sovereignty cannot be divided

TAIWANESE President Ma Ying-jeou's South China Sea Peace Initiative calls on all claimants to shelve their disputes, respect international law, resolve disagreements peacefully and have cooperative development.

This follows from Taiwan's successful experience with the East China Sea Peace Initiative to deal with disputes in the East China Sea, as well as the Diaoyutai Islands sovereignty issue. In fact, the East China Sea Peace Initiative not only helped to alleviate friction in the region, but also facilitated the signing of a fisheries agreement between Taiwan and Japan in April 2013.

Clearly, this is a concrete example that even though sovereignty cannot be divided, resources can be shared.

The success of our East China Sea Peace Initiative and the announcement of the United States' support for the South China Sea Peace Initiative demonstrate and affirm that it is both possible and pragmatic to shelve disputes while creating a win-win situation for parties concerned.

Taiwan has personnel stationed on Taiping Island, the largest of the naturally formed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

As an affected party, we firmly hold that proper and effective management of the South China Sea dispute should necessarily involve and include all concerned parties, including Taiwan, in the process of consultations and negotiations.

In view of the rising tensions in the region, particularly at a time when the progress on a code of conduct is reportedly disappointing, we wish to extend the spirit and content of the East China Sea Peace Initiative to the South China Sea.

To achieve the goals of regional peace and prosperity, we look forward to all claimants shelving their sovereignty disputes and working together to embrace reconciliation and cooperation, and adhere to international law.

Hsieh Fa-Dah
Taipei Representative Office in Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'Share resources, even if sovereignty cannot be divided'. Subscribe