News / Asia

Taiwan President Urges Sharing East China Sea Resources

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou discusses the bitter South China Sea island dispute between China and Japan at a Presidential Office press briefing in Taipei, Taiwan, January 31, 2013.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou discusses the bitter South China Sea island dispute between China and Japan at a Presidential Office press briefing in Taipei, Taiwan, January 31, 2013.
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is urging his powerful neighbors China and Japan to end their islands dispute and share resources in the hotly contested sea between them. Taiwan also claims sovereignty over the Japanese-controlled islands and wants three-way talks on natural resources.
President Ma Ying-jeou told a news conference on Thursday that Taiwan, China and Japan should set aside differences without giving up sovereignty claims.
Repeating a call for peace that he first made in August, the president said that natural resources lay at the center of the dispute, but that they could be shared.
He says no one is going to back down in terms of sovereignty if claims are not settled, but that resources can still be shared in certain situations. He says his peace initiative not only emphasizes that no sovereignty claim would be affected, but also enables all sides to set aside differences and carry out talks related to natural resources.
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Taiwan calls the islets the Tiaoyutai. China calls them Diaoyu, and they are known as the Senkakus in Japan. Whoever controls the islets also commands a large territorial sea area.
The uninhabited islets some 220 kilometers from Taipei are rich in fisheries and may sit near undersea natural gas reserves.
The ownership dispute became heated last year after Tokyo bought the islets from a private owner. Since then, Japanese and Chinese vessels have faced standoffs in the ocean. Taiwan activists have also made trips to the area to reinforce their claim.
Ma, who is in his second and final term, has been criticized at home for having few foreign policy achievements. But he acknowledged at the news conference that China limits Taiwan’s diplomacy and that Taiwan has no formal relations with Japan, making it hard to arrange three-way talks.
Raymond Wu, managing director of the Taipei-based political risk consultancy e-telligence, says that because China limits Taiwan’s diplomacy, no one will take the peace initiative seriously. It has been on the table since August.
“There’s been some response, but nothing that will really make Taiwan a relevant party in the process. It goes to the bigger issue regarding Taiwan’s international political status. Despite progress in cross-Strait relations since 2008, this is one area that Beijing has not to responded positively, so in the foreseeable [future] we see very little chance for Taiwan to play a very visible and assertive role in the ongoing dispute.”
China has claimed self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory since the 1940s and bars its 170 allies around the world from formal contact with Taipei.
Taiwan and China have seen relations improve since Ma took office in 2008, and Taipei has strong informal ties with Japan. But neither country has responded to Ma's peace proposal.

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Comment Sorting
by: Habi from: Canada
February 04, 2013 1:58 AM
“Ryu from Japan”:

Ryukyu was named in Sui Dynasty (581 to 617) of China from history documents, which is much earlier 715 as you mentioned ( the Ryukyu word original pronunciation comes from the Sui and Tang [or earlier] dynasty in the official language and official documents in China). In 1372, Ming Dynasty sent envoys to Ryukyu, from this time, Ryukyu became the official name, and monarch relation was also set (Ryukyu was officially a part of China and officially paid tribute to China).
According to the Ryukyu national history and a variety of historical records, this official relationship continued for a full five centuries, in 1609, Japanese, invaded the Ryūkyū Kingdom (“invaded” is from Wiki); After that, the kings of the Ryukyus not only paid tribute to Chinese emperor, but also the Japanese; In 1872, the Japanese government established the Ryukyu han; Please note the Ryukyus terminated tribute relations with China in 1874 because of invasion of Japan to Ryukyu. So Japanese robbed Ryukyu Islands in 1872 although China protested (see Wiki).
From 1372 (Ming dynasty), the Ryukyu Kingdom have been using China's reign, all official documents, diplomatic treaties, official history, were written by official Chinese language (NOT Japanese). In Ryukyu capital, the palace is not facing south, but Western-oriented, facing China and showing respect to China (NOT Japan). Actually Japan forcibly invaded Ryukyu from 1609, although China protested all the time.
“Ryu from Japan”, could you please provide some history documents or evidence to show Okinawa has been Japanese territory from 715. I don’t believe it. Even Japan has the name of Okinawa from 715, it is much later than the name Ryukyu named by Sui dynasty of China in 581. Please note that Ryuky area is larger than Okinawa (Ryukyu islands include Okinawa). According to the Ryukyu national history documents and a variety of historical records in China as I mentioned above, Ryukyu is more related to China in history, language and politics or a territory of China, there is enough evidence from Ryukyu and China that Japan invaded Ryukyu little by little from 1609, like invaded China, Korea, Taiwan and other Southeastern Asian countries in WWII from 1931-1945.
China has peacefully solved some land border dispute with Russian, western Asian countries, Vietnam although there are sea/island dispute with some countries. Japan has sea/island dispute with all its neighbours, Russia, China, Korea, and none of them has been solved. Japan even ignored WWII declarations (Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Declaration etc) and refused to talk with China and Taiwan about Diaoyu islands/senkaku. The world should be aware of this aggression and greed from Japanese.

by: danzig from: Noumea, PF
February 03, 2013 7:35 PM
1971 Taiwan's elementary school textbooks that stated that Formosa's northernmost boundary, was the Agincourt Isle, changed

4 July, 2012, Ma regime dispatched to Senkaku Islands, of coast guard escorts for protester carrying not his regime's flag, but that of People's Republic of China

17 September 2012, Ma's 'presidential' office announced 'National Security Council' plans to issue Tiaoyutai Stamps for the Senkaku Islands, ready to mail to Japan.

3 Aug 2012, Fleet 168, a 3 warships complement under the command of Chang Feng-chiang violated Japanese ADIZ environ Yonaguni Island,

7 Sept 2012, Ma suddenly called for 'East China Sea Peace Initiative,'

25 Sept 2012, 6 of Ma regime's coast guard attacked Japanese vessels with water cannon

23 Jan 2013, 4 coast guard vessels of Ma's regime's skirmished with that of Japan's.

by: Habi from: Canada
February 03, 2013 7:32 PM
To Antichina from: TP

Definitely we need to change "Chinese" to "Japanese" in your comments below. Japanese did use some Chinese for test of their biological weapons in China in WWII, see below.

"Unit 731 (731部隊 Nana-san-ichi butai?, Chinese: 731部队) was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II." (

Japanese (NOT Chinese) also invaded Southeaster Asian countries, like Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippine, etc.

Please provide evidence or links that Chinese used Biological weapons? like I give you the evidence that Japanese used Biological weapons in Asian countries in WWII. If you don't have evidence, stop delusion and stop spitting these unfounded rumors. Almost all information is available from library and Internet, why you lie and spread rumors here?

"chinese is very wicked, they are using some types of biological weapons against other countries like Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippine, etc. which is complicated to find out, such as grinding leech into powder.."
In Response

by: Antichina from: TP
February 04, 2013 8:36 PM
i'm a resident of one of the countries, so i no what they are doing wit us

by: Antichina from: TP
February 03, 2013 10:14 AM
lol, any how, taiwanese is chinese, if i was American, i will not entirely believe in them, you don't know what they are doing behind your back (maybe buying your modern weapons then sell the tech to china?)
chinese is very wicked, they are using some types of biological weapons against other countries like Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippine, etc. which is complicated to find out, such as grinding leech into powder, mix them with food then export, if you eat, don't need to say, you no the outcome...UN needs to take their role in protecting small countries against the bully

by: Habi from: Canada
February 03, 2013 4:09 AM
Calm down, guys, before you spread your unfounded rumors.
1) Japanese invaded Ryukyu Islands in 1872. See below: In 1609, Japanese, invaded the Ryūkyū Kingdom (“invaded” is from Wiki); After that, the kings of the Ryukyus not only paid tribute to Chinese emperor, but also the Japanese; In 1872, the Japanese government established the Ryukyu han; In 1874, the Ryukyus terminated tribute relations with China. So Japanese robbed Ryukyu Islands in 1872 (see Wiki).
2) 1894-1895: the First Sino-Japanese War (see wiki).
a. June 1894 : The Korean government requests help from the Chinese government to suppress the rebellion;
b. 6 June 1894: The Chinese government informs the Japanese government under the obligation of the Convention of Tientsin of its military operation;
c. 8 June 1894: First of around 4,000 Japanese soldiers and 500 marines land at Jemulpo (Incheon) despite Korean and Chinese protests;
d. 23 July 1894: Japanese troops invaded Seoul, seize the Korean emperor and establish a new pro-Japanese government;
e. 17 April 1895, China has to cede the Liaodong Peninsula (in the south of the present day Liaoning Province), Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to Japan (China failed for First Sino-Japanese War);
f. 29 May, 1895, Japanese invaded and occupied Taiwan.
g. Japan also robbed/stole Dioayu islands/Senkaku islands in 1895, but worried about China’s response since Japan knew Diaoyu islands belongs to China. That is one of the reason why US only transfer administration of Diaoyu islands/Senkaku to Japan in 1971, NOT sovereignty since US knew Diaoyu islands/Senkaku islands used to be a part of China and should be returned to China based on WWII declarations (although US and Japan are allies).
3) 1931-1945: Japan invaded Manchria of China in 1931, during WWII, Japan occupied almost entire China, Korea, Taiwan, and most of Southeastern Asian countries, e.g. Burma, Thailand, Malaysia etc.
4) China became an UN member in 1971 (cold war delayed this process), and Taiwan left UN because of civil war and China politics in ~ 1971, China and Taiwan re-claimed the sovereignty of Diaoyu islands.
5) In September 2012, the Japanese government purchased the remaining three of the disputed islands that it did not already own from their private owner, prompting large-scale protests in China (including Hongkong) and Taiwan.
6) Cairo Declaration (1943) (US, UK, China)
• All territories Japan had won from China since 1914, such as Manchuria (Dongbei), Formosa (Taiwan) (Diaoyu islands is a part of Taiwan), and the Pescadores (Penghu), shall be restored to the Republic of China.
• Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed.

7) Potsdam Declaration (1945) (US, UK, China, Russian)
• "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku (NO DIAOYU ISLANDS HERER) and such minor islands as we determine."
• "The Japanese military forces shall be completely disarmed"

So it is clear that Japan invaded China and Taiwan (and Korea, and other countries), and robbed the lands and islands (e.g. Diaoyu islands/Senkaku) from China in the past hundreds of years, and should return the Diaoyu islands to China and Taiwan instead of nationalize and steal these islands now, in terms of Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Declaration in WWII. It is Japan who is looking for trouble in these islands, NOT China, but China should have the right to fight back if Japan is really aggressive.
In Response

by: Ryu from: Japan
February 03, 2013 10:34 PM
Hi, Habe, you are wrong!… for your information, at least since 715, Okinawa has been Japanese territory. That is recorded in the Japanese old history book, “Shoku-Nihongi”. And the name of “Okinawa” was found at least in 753, which was recorded by a Chinese monk, Ganjin. “Okinawa” has been there before ‘Ryukyu’ was ‘invaded’ by Japan in1609 what you insist. You should learn the trues.

by: JKF from: Ottawa., Canada
February 03, 2013 12:31 AM
Most of the comments below, are about the "other guy should give in, we are right". I guess if the leaders of Japan and China feel the same way, will be watching a totally needless arms race in Asia, which as usual will culminate in a big war, which as usual should end up killing 500 million at least. If you look at history, every major war, over time, has had an increase of dead civilians by a factor of ten. WWII ~52,000,000 civilians died; so a new major Asian war should end up in ~ 500,000,000 dead, and if you multiply the number of dead, by 6, you are looking at 3 Billion injured. That equals the entire population of Asia, less Russia. With the current weapons humanity has, that is a low estimate. I guess if we follow most of the commentators, that is the way this is going to play out. I think I would rather see all compromise, and stop saying the other guy is wrong...and start thinking about how we can compromise and avoid an arms race.... the end result will be all dead or injured. There are already too many wars on the planet.

February 01, 2013 6:04 PM
China never wants to share what it considers as indisputable parts of China;it only wants to share what rightly belong to their neighbours and which it shamelessly claims as Chinese territories.Would China share the resources around the Paracel Islands which China stole from Vietnam in 1974? Obviously No.So stop using these hyprocritical double-standards.China even claims Genghis Khan was a Chinese hero,what else can't they claim then.LOL...

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
February 01, 2013 8:34 AM
I expect sensible leaders of China and Japan will make the same proposal as the one of Tiwan president Ma some day.
In Response

by: UnderNoMake from: Japan
February 01, 2013 11:25 PM
To Yoshi, What you said is believable? As a Japanese citizen, your expectation sounds to be too naive and ridiculous. Nearly 80% Japanese people think China superpower never gives in regarding this matter. Yoshi should realize your opinion is just a 'dream' so far.
In Response

by: UnderNoMake from: JPN
February 01, 2013 9:45 PM
Dear Andy, For your information, so called Japan's right wings are as right as US Democrats. And Japan's left wings are as left as US communists. After WW2, most Japanese have been too left. Taiwan and China's pressure to Senkaku islands eventually makes many Japanese people to be 'right'. Of course, I became to be 'right' recently.
In Response

by: Andy D. from: LA
February 01, 2013 3:38 PM
If you do some reasearch, you should realize that China has always insisted to share and cooperate on East and South China Sea; it didn't want to make any troubles or spark any disputes with its neighbors, but Japan's right wing radicals successfully made a "island purchasing incident" to spark the hatred between China and Japan

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 31, 2013 2:05 PM
This proposal is very sensible, progressive and if accepted by all would reduce tensions and reduce a potential negative arms race in the region. This proposal is good for peace, prosperity and stability for all.
In Response

by: Brian from: England
February 03, 2013 10:17 AM
The USA belonged to china 2013 years ago, return the land to them
In Response

by: Andy D. from: LA, California
February 01, 2013 3:42 PM
Hoang, please do some history research; Japan first claimed it in 19th century (17 century? you gotta be kidding), but it had been a part of China since Ming dynasty; you can even check some Japanese maps and official documents before they took the island
In Response

by: mit
February 01, 2013 10:56 AM
who say? These islands have been administered by Japan since 17th century. can you Prove?
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
February 01, 2013 6:33 AM
These islands have been administered by Japan since 17th century. Whey would Japan share these islands with China or Taiwan just because China and Taiwan claim these islands since 1940?
In Response

by: putin from: Shanghai
January 31, 2013 11:42 PM
This proposal is neither sensible nor progressive.If Ma"s proposal is not distorted on purpose, it shows his ignorance of the fact that there is only one china.Diaoyu is the terrority of China including Taiwan.I strongly suspect that the writer of this article is trying every means to confusing the public,pretending not to see the legal fact.
In Response

by: Peace OnEarth
January 31, 2013 9:23 PM
As a politician, Mr. Ma is either too naive or has a hidden agenda. If you know anything about China and Japan, the fight is much more than resources.
In Response

by: wayne from: sydney
January 31, 2013 5:34 PM
It may seem sensible but for japan and china its a matter of saving face, if any party cave in and propose such a deal they've lost face.

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