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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid