In his article “Taiwan Can’t Save the South China Sea,” Michal Thim unfortunately doesn’t seem to grasp the true essence of both the East and South China Sea Peace Initiatives proposed by Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) President Ma Ying-jeou. He also misses the widespread positive responses to the ongoing development of the initiatives.
Mr. Thim’s argument that the East China Sea Peace Initiative (ECSPI) was ignored by parties concerned is totally ignorant to the fact that Taiwan and Japan signed a fishery agreement in April 2013, eight months after the ECSPI was enunciated by President Ma, solving a four-decade-long fisheries dispute between the two countries. The agreement, which realizes the initiative’s spirit that “although sovereignty over national territory cannot be compromised, natural resources can be shared,” covers about 70,000 square kilometers of waters around the Diaoyutai Islands where fishermen from each side may operate without interference from the coast guards of the other party. It has elicited supportive comments from many others, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who stated in response to a question posed by a member of Congress that the fisheries agreement “can serve as a model for promoting regional stability despite conflicting maritime claims. … This principle, which is enunciated in the East China Sea Peace Initiative, is relevant across maritime Asia.”