Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou's proposal for a peace initiative to address the territorial disputes surrounding the Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea could provide a cushioning effect for regional hostility and help transform Taiwan into a peace promoter, local scholars said Sunday.
Edward Chen, a professor at Tamkang University's (TKU's) Graduate Institute of the Americas, said Ma's proposal comes at the right time, as China is set to undergo a leadership change and Japan is preparing for its House of Representatives elections.
Neither China, Japan nor the United States want to see the East China Sea dispute deteriorating at this time, Chen said, adding that he expects the U.S. to make a positive response to Ma's peace proposal in the near future.
Besides Taiwan, both China and Japan claims the Tiaoyutais, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan.
Wang Kao-chen, a TKU professor in the area of international affairs and strategic studies, said the territorial dispute cannot be resolved quickly, but added that Ma's proposal offers a short-term solution that could work as a buffer between China and Japan.
Under what he called "the East China Sea Peace Initiative," Ma urged all parties to refrain from taking antagonistic actions, shelve controversies, observe international law and resolve disputes via peaceful means.
All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct in the East China Sea and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring resources in the region, Ma told a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary Sunday of the signing of a peace treaty between the Republic of China and Japan following the end of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
Also that day, TKU assistant professor Alexander Huang, a former deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council, said Ma's move sends to world the message of the seriousness of Taiwan's stance on the Tiaoyutais dispute.
Shi Yanhong, a professor at Renmin University of China, however, suggested that Ma should add a clause in the proposal that forbids any party in the region to change the status quo unilaterally.
He said that compared with the South China Sea disputes, the Tiaoyutai issue poses a greater potential danger because China and Japan remain hostile toward each other, adding that Japan is one of the U.S.'s military allies.
However, he praised Ma's proposal in general, describing it as constructive, reasonable and well-timed.
(By Tsai Su-jung, Hsieh Chia-chen, Chai Ssu-chia and Jamie Wang)