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Talk of the Day -- China seeks links with Taiwan to defend disputed islands

2012/07/12 22:34:01

The two sides of the Taiwan Strait should work together to defend disputed islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, a Chinese official in charge of oceanic monitoring has urged at a seminar held in Haikou, Hainan Province in southern China earlier this week.

Sun Shuhsien, party secretary and managing deputy head of China's Maritime Surveillance Force, also said at the session that Taiwan should not just sit on idle hands or just pay lip service toward such territorial disputes.

"Taiwan should take concrete actions to defend sovereignty claims in South China Sea and East China Sea; otherwise, it would let ancestors down," Sun added.

His call came amid escalating spats among Taiwan, China and Japan over the Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea and rising tensions between China and its Asian neighbors such as the Philippines and Vietnam over various island groups in the South China Sea.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of Chinese officials and scholars' proposals for cross-strait cooperation on territorial issues:

United Daily News:

Sun said China should outline certain "red lines" that should not be crossed over in dealing with major global affairs.

He warned that China would be forced to retaliate if Japan take provocative actions over the Tiaoyutais -- a group of uninhabited islets located some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan that are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.

A similar strategy or policy will be adopted in dealing with South China Sea issues, Sun said.

"Sometimes, we need a war to end all wars," Sun said, adding that Taiwan does not need to join such an armed conflict.

To defend its sovereignty, Sun said, China's Maritime Surveillance Force had previously cut Vietnamese and Philippine oil rig cables or survey ships' cables in the South China Sea.

According to him, cutting cables will become one of China's secret weapons in defending its territorial claims.

As Taiwan controls the Taiping Island, the largest islet in the Spratly Islands in the South China Seas, Sun said, it should cooperate with China in defending their sovereignty claim and exploring undersea oil reserves in waters northeast of the Spratlys.

Sun said he hopes Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration will collaborate with his unit in patrolling South China Sea and waters surrounding the Tiaoyutais.

The two-day seminar closed Wednesday. The annual event, which brought together academics, officials and experts from both sides of the Taiwan Strait to discuss feasible strategies or solutions to South China Sea territorial issues, was inaugurated in 2002.

The conference used to be held in December, but was advanced to July this year amid increasing frequency of flareups in those disputed regions. (July 12, 2012).

China Times:

Three Chinese patrol ships navigated to waters close to Taioyutai Islands, known as Diaoyutai Islands in China and Senkaku Islands in Japan, around midnight Tuesday, drawing a strong protest from Japan.

China's Foreign Ministry already rejected Japan's call for negotiations on the issue on the grounds that the island group is part of its territories.

Although the three Chinese ships left the area three hours later, officials from both countries continued sparring over the territorial disputes.

The spat renewed recently after Japan announced plans to ramp up its sovereignty claims over the island group believed to sit atop rich oil and gas reserves in the East China Sea. (July 12, 2012).

(By Sofia Wu)