News / Asia

Taiwan Seeks Peace Talks Over China Air Defense Zone

Computer screens display map showing outline of China's new air defense zone in the East China Sea, website of Chinese Ministry of Defense, Beijing, Nov. 26, 2013.
Computer screens display map showing outline of China's new air defense zone in the East China Sea, website of Chinese Ministry of Defense, Beijing, Nov. 26, 2013.
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan appealed for peace talks on Tuesday after China established an air defense zone over the East China Sea, enraging Japan. Analysts think the call for peace will help Taiwan stay on the good side of both China and Japan as they square off against each other.
 
Since China announced last week an air defense identification zone covering a chain of East China Sea islets that are claimed by both China and Japan, the United States and Japan have flown planes into the zone without notification. Now, Taiwan has announced that its military will conduct normal patrols and also has no plans to comply with China’s demand for notification when aircraft pass through its defense zone.
 
However, Taipei has become the lone voice asking that the disputants sit down and talk. Taiwan foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao said on Tuesday that her government wants the disputants to discuss regional stability.
The disputed airspaceThe disputed airspace
x
The disputed airspace
The disputed airspace

Kao said her ministry hopes every relevant party can use Taiwan’s year-old East China Sea Peace Initiative proposal to work on safeguarding peace and stability in the region. She also added that Taiwan’s government is paying a high level of attention to developments in the region, and that the foreign ministry will maintain close contact with the United States and Japan.
 
Taiwan cannot sound off as loudly on the issue as Japan or the United States because of its unique political status. China has long considered the self-ruled island, which sits just 160 kilometers offshore of mainland China, to be a breakaway part of its own territory. This has been official policy since the Chinese civil war in the 1940s; in the past, China has threatened to take the island by force if necessary.
 
However, the two sides have respected their own exclusive air and sea zones for decades, and in 2008 they started easing hostilities with non-political dialogue that has brought economic gains to Taiwan. Officials on both sides have avoided outward confrontation during the dialogue process.
 
Taiwan sees its former colonizer, Japan, as a solid informal ally. More recently, Taiwan and Japan have developed economic and cultural ties, and in April the two reached a deal to allow Taiwanese fishermen to fish in disputed waters. The move was seen by some as a slight against Beijing.  Nathan Liu, international affairs professor at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, suggests that a conciliatory approach from Taiwan to China’s air defense zone could deliver more benefits, such as the fishing rights deal with Japan.
 
“Taiwan in reality has no bargaining chips at all. Taiwan has nothing to lose, and actually Taiwan gains something, because they have this fishing agreement with Japan,” said Liu.
 
China would oppose any multilateral talks brokered by Taiwan, as it does not consider the island a state empowered to conduct diplomacy. It would also block Japan or the United States, both formal diplomatic allies of Beijing, from engaging Taiwan.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs