Taiwan's View on the South China Sea Issue
After Novinite published an official statement by China on the developments in the South China Sea last week, we were contacted by the Taipei Representative Office in Greece, representing the Republic of China (Taiwan), which offered its position, also known as the South China Sea Peace Initiative.
China does not recognize Taiwan and it was not mentioned in the statement, but we have decided to publish the text sent by Taipei since it is recognized by other countries involved in the South China Sea issue.
Again, Novinite is urged all the parties affected to provide their opinion.
Islands in the South China Sea were first discovered, named, used, and incorporated into national territory by the Chinese. The ROC recovered the islands from Japan after the Second World War. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, which entered into effect on April 28, 1952, as well as the Treaty of Peace between the ROC and Japan which was signed that same day, together with other international legal instruments, reconfirmed that the islands and reefs in the South China Sea occupied by Japan should be returned to the ROC. In the several decades since, the fact that the ROC owns and exercises effective control over these islands has been recognized by foreign governments and international organizations.
As this year (2015) marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the countries surrounding the South China Sea should heed the lessons of history and commit themselves to advancing regional peace and prosperity. Therefore, in May 2015, in view of the rising tensions in the South China Sea, based on its successful peace-making experiences in the East China Sea, ROC President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the South China Sea Peace Initiative, calling on all parties concerned to:
1. exercise restraint, safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from taking any unilateral action that might escalate tensions;
2. respect the principles and spirit of relevant international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, peacefully deal with and settle disputes through dialogue and consultations, and jointly uphold the freedom and safety of navigation and overflight through the South China Sea;
3. ensure that all parties concerned are included in mechanisms or measures that enhance peace and prosperity in the South China Sea, e.g. a maritime cooperation mechanism or code of conduct;
4. shelve sovereignty disputes and establish a regional cooperation mechanism for the zonal development of resources in the South China Sea under integrated planning; and
5. set up coordination and cooperation mechanisms for such non-traditional security issues as environmental protection, scientific research, maritime crime fighting, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The ROC is willing to work with the other parties concerned to implement the concepts and spirit of the South China Sea Peace Initiative in order to resolve disputes and jointly develop resources, thereby making the South China Sea a “Sea of Peace and Cooperation” similar to the East China Sea.
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