Taiwan’s initiative calms South China Sea storm
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Auckland (TECO) and the Politics and International Relations Department of University of Auckland hosted a symposium on ‘Expanding Free Trade and Peace in the Asia Pacific’ at the Old Government House in the University Campus on July 30, 2015. The Symposium discussed regional economic integrity and regional security situation in the Asia Pacific.
Following is an edited version of the speech delivered by TECO Director General Dr Chung-hsing Chou at the Symposium.
Dr Chung-hsing Chou
Peaceful and stable environment is critical for economic development and regional economic integrity.
The current situation in the South China Sea carries the risk of international military confrontation. Considering the fact that Asia is one of the core markets in the world, and that the countries involved in the South China Sea disputes account for over 30% of New Zealand’s foreign trade, there is a solid ground for peace in the region.
I therefore reiterate the Republic of China’s South China Sea Peace Initiative.
The Initiative accounts for the following: 1. Exercise restraint, safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from taking any unilateral action that might escalate tensions
- 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 3. Peacefully deal with and settle disputes through dialogue and consultations, and jointly uphold the freedom and safety of navigation and over-flight through the South China Sea 4. Ensure that all parties concerned are included in mechanisms or measures that enhance peace and prosperity in the South China Sea (for example, a Maritime Cooperation Mechanism or Code of Conduct 5. Shelve sovereignty disputes and establish a regional cooperation mechanism for the zonal development of resources in the South China Sea under integrated planning 6. 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.
Taiwan 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.
Actually, the concept of the Peace Initiative has been echoed by the international society.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for all claimants to disputed territories in the South China Sea to immediately halt provocative activities that have ratcheted up tensions in some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
He said that the US was urging “all claimants to make a joint commitment to halt further land reclamation and construction of new facilities or militarisation on disputed features.” Such step would lower tensions and create diplomatic space for a meaningful Code of Conduct (COC).
Symposium Chairman Dr Stephen Hoadley of University of Auckland analysed the New Zealand foreign trade policy and outlined the pros and cons expressed by the New Zealand public regarding New Zealand’s proposal to join the Trans-Pacific Partnerships (TPP).
He also spoke about the impact of ‘ANZTEC,’ (Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation) signed by the two countries in Wellington on July 10, 2013.
“In the long run, it would be essential for New Zealand to have broader participation in regional economic organisation to expand trading interests in the Asia Pacific,” Dr Hoadley said.
Taipei based Chung-Hua Institute for Economic Research Vice-President Dr Jian-chun Wang said that collaboration between New Zealand and Taiwan would result in complimentary benefits under the foundation of ANZTEC and the possibility of the two countries joining TPP in the future.
He said that a combination of New Zealand’s innovative ideas and Taiwan’s manufacturing capacity would accrue cost competitive edge.
“New Zealand and Taiwan have aggressively incorporated biotech into agriculture sector but in different areas; and hence collaboration could boost competitiveness in the market for both. Taiwan has achieved remarkable success in Small and Medium Enterprises and hence exchange of SME and policy setting could create more job opportunities,” he said.
Dr Chung-hsing Chou speaking at the Symposium