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President Ma proposes South China Sea Peace Initiative
Date: 2015/05/26    Data Source: Public Diplomacy Coordination Council
Foreign Press Liaison Office
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Republic of China (Taiwan)
 
Email: fplfbi@mofa.gov.tw                                                          Tel: (02)2380-5683
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Press Release
May 26, 2015
 
President Ma proposes South China Sea Peace Initiative
 
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the South China Sea Peace Initiative May 26 in Taipei at the 2015 International Law Association—American Society of International Law Asia-Pacific Research Forum, calling on all concerned parties to work together to settle disputes peacefully.
 
“We provide a pragmatic and forward-looking course of action, before a major conflict breaks out,” President Ma said. “Whether in the Taiwan Strait, East China Sea, or South China Sea, our approach is the same—to resolve disputes through peaceful means.”
 
The initiative urges all parties concerned to exercise restraint in the South China Sea; observe relevant international law, including the UN Charter and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and settle disputes peacefully, while jointly guaranteeing freedom of navigation and overflight; ensure that all important actors are included in measures such as a maritime cooperation mechanism or code of conduct; shelve sovereignty disputes and cooperate on the development of resources; and establish coordination mechanisms for nontraditional security issues such as scientific research, environmental protection, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
 
The president reiterated that from the perspectives of history, geography, and international law, the Nansha (Spratly), Shisha (Paracel), Chungsha (Macclesfield Bank), and Tungsha (Pratas) Islands, as well as their surrounding waters, are an inherent part of ROC territory and waters. The ROC indisputably enjoys all rights over them in accordance with international law.
 
The principle that sovereignty cannot be divided, but resources can be shared, however, allows sovereignty disputes to be shelved while development proceeds jointly, he said.
 
This spirit, embodied in the president’s earlier East China Sea Peace Initiative, allowed Taiwan and Japan to overcome longstanding disagreements to sign a fisheries agreement in April 2013, and also contributed to the eventual peaceful resolution with the Philippines of the Guang Da Xing No. 28 incident of the same year, in which an ROC fisherman was shot and killed.
 
The 2015 ILA-ASIL Asia-Pacific Research Forum was hosted by the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law. The event was attended by ILA and ASIL members, the heads and representatives of Society of International Law branches in the Republic of Korea, South Africa, and Singapore, as well as professors and researchers from 22 leading universities and research institutions in Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and United States.
 
The ILA, headquartered in London, and the ASIL, based in Washington, D.C., are among the most influential legal organizations in the world. Both serve as consultants to the United Nations.
 
For the full text of the South China Sea Peace Initiative, see the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.