Date
24 July 2017
All parties caught up in territorial disputes in the South China Sea should consider joint exploration of the maritime resources, says Ma Ying-Jeou. Photo; Bloomberg
All parties caught up in territorial disputes in the South China Sea should consider joint exploration of the maritime resources, says Ma Ying-Jeou. Photo; Bloomberg

Taiwan’s Ma outlines plan to ease South China Sea tensions

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has laid out a proposal to ease tensions in the South China Sea, saying that all the parties caught up in territorial disputes should consider joint exploration of the resources.

“We emphasize that whereas sovereignty can’t be divided, resources can be shared,” Ma said in a speech Tuesday at an Asia-Pacific research forum in Taipei.

He also called on “all parties concerned” to uphold the “freedom and safety of navigation and overflight” and avoid unilateral action that would escalate tension, Associated Press reported.

Taiwan, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines claim all or parts of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea. 

In recent months China has made other claimants and their common ally, the United States, angry as it undertook land reclamation activities in disputed territory.

The tropical sea is rich in oil, natural gas and fisheries, while also being part of major international marine shipping routes.

Ma’s latest plan is similar to a 2012 proposal for the East China Sea, which allowed Taiwan and Japan to jointly fish in the contested waters.

However, it is unlikely the plan would be accepted by China, which claims most of the South China Sea and has rebuffed earlier attempts at multilateral negotiations, Reuters noted.

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RC

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