News / Asia

Taiwan Suggests Code of Conduct for East China Sea

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou cheers with the audience during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 10, 2013.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou cheers with the audience during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 10, 2013.
Ralph Jennings
China and Japan have tested each other’s patience for 18 months with claims to the same patch of ocean. Now Taiwan, a third but smaller claimant to the same area, is suggesting a code of conduct to avoid missteps or accidents. Taiwan normally gets little attention for diplomacy because of opposition from China but hopes to change that with this proposal.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has suggested that Tokyo, Beijing and his own government negotiate a code of conduct outlining measures to avoid deadly mishaps during tests of military strength over control of the East China Sea. His idea is similar to a code discussed in Southeast Asia since 2012 to smooth competing claims in the South China Sea.

Because Taiwan lacks the diplomatic clout to negotiate cross-border deals, China and Japan are not expected to react publicly. But both sides and the United States are expected to welcome the idea informally as an alternative to conflict. Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan, said Taiwan wanted to prove its leadership ability despite its marginal status.

“If in the future there will be a multilateral dialogue and Taiwan’s voice should not be ignored, President Ma wanted to climb to the high ground before others,” he said.

Ma suggested the code of conduct to cover the air space and waters of the East China Sea at a Taipei conference Wednesday. He also called for establishing a way for rival governments to work out air defense identification zone disputes. China delineated an air defense zone over the disputed area in November, alarming Japan and Taiwan as it overlaps their sea claims.

For 18 months Beijing and Tokyo have tested each other’s commitment to their claims to 40,000 square kilometers of ocean with ship movements and flyovers. Both are eyeing undersea natural gas deposits in the same tract east of Shanghai. Taiwanese fishing boats trawl around eight Japanese-controlled islands in the disputed area and occasionally clash with Tokyo’s coast guard. Two years ago President Ma proposed that the three claimants share resources in the East China Sea.

Scholars from Japan and the United States have welcomed the code of conduct proposal because it would reduce the risk of conflict without compromising any side’s sovereignty claims. The U.S. government wants peace in East Asia so it can maintain economic engagement with China as well as military relations with Japan and Taiwan, a sore point in Beijing.

Alexander Huang said the United States has been waiting for someone to take the lead in defusing the regional tensions.

“Friends in Washington would welcome this kind of statement and gesture and Taiwan’s effort to raise this issue. It would be very hard to go beyond the president’s statement and say hey we’ve got better solutions or proposals,” he said.

Taiwan hopes its proposal will enhance its status with the U.S. and help win a seat for Taipei in the Trans Pacific Partnership trading bloc.

China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory and uses its economic clout to bar other governments from negotiating with Taipei, hampering trade deals and muting efforts at regional diplomacy. But China has sought to ease tension with Taiwan since 2008 and may seek private code of conduct talks with Ma’s government to cut out Beijing’s chief rival Japan.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 01, 2014 4:53 PM
Both China and Taiwan agreed that Diaoyu islands belong to Taiwan province and Yilan county!
Also both China and Taiwan agreed that South China Sea is Chinese!
In Response

by: Dan from: USA
March 03, 2014 2:45 PM
@Wong from USA, I wonder how many generation does that gonna take to simply eradicate your racist gene.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 01, 2014 11:06 PM
@Wong from USA, I pray one day China will be as greedy as America! I wish China can attack any country she doesn't like with a fake excuse and without UN permission.
In Response

by: Wong from: USA
March 01, 2014 9:44 PM
How many chinese generations have to pass so that there is no more greedy chinese in Canada?
Why does china have to sacrafice its people to compete with America?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs