Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou proposed a peace initiative Sunday to address territorial disputes over the Tiaoyutai Islands, urging neighboring countries to show restraint and seek peaceful means to settle the issue.
"We hope to use the East China Sea Peace Initiative to urge all sides to seriously face the possible impact of this territorial dispute on the peace and security in the East China Sea," Ma said.
Ma called on all parties to refrain from taking antagonistic action, to shelve their differences, to not abandon dialogue, to observe international law and to resolve the dispute via peaceful means. All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea, and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources in the region, he added.
All parties concerned should admit the existence of the dispute, while pursuing peaceful means to resolve it, he said during the opening ceremony of an exhibition in Taipei to mark the 60th anniversary of a peace treaty signed between the Republic of China and Japan following the second Sino-Japan War.
Ma, who described himself as a long-term activist in the local Tiaoyutai movement since he was a university student, also reiterated the ROC's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais, which Taiwan considers to be under the jurisdiction of Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan.
Taiwan, Japan and China have been involved in heated disputes due to competing territorial claims over the Tiaoyutai Islands for several years.
The president's remarks also come at a time when Japan is moving toward nationalizing the Tiaoyutais, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan.
Taiwan notified Japan of Ma's proposed peace initiative before the president brought up the idea at the ceremony, Foreign Minister Timothy Yang said that day.
However, he added that the Japanese government had made no comment.
Meanwhile that day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement that proposes seeking consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea.
Citing a code of conduct negotiated among Southeast Asian countries to make legally binding the commitment to peaceful resolutions to sovereignty disputes over the South China Sea, the ministry said Taiwan hopes a similar initiative can be negotiated to address disputes over the East China Sea.
(By Elaine Hou)