Ma acclaims success in ‘viable diplomacy’ at Foreign Ministry
President does not rule out the possibility of visiting Taiping Island China ‘likely’ to deploy J-11 fighters in South China Sea
The “viable diplomacy” approach has enabled Taiwan to expand its international space while contributing to the development of regional peace and prosperity, President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday as he inspected the Foreign Ministry to give pep talks to diplomats.
Unlike the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration that adopted the so-called checkbook diplomacy, Ma said yesterday during his address at the ministry that he has established viable diplomacy as a way of promoting cross-strait peace and friendly ties with the international community since he took office in May 2008.
With more than seven years of dedication and effort, the results speak for themselves, he noted. During the DPP administration between 2000 to 2008, Taipei lost nine allies to Beijing. Since he assumed office, Taiwan has only lost one.
Also, Ma added that 142 countries and territories — up from 54 seven years ago — have entered into visa-waiver agreements with Taiwan.
Ma thanked the efforts and contributions to the Foreign Ministry and all R.O.C. diplomats in helping Taiwan achieve these successes over the past seven years. He called on Taiwanese diplomats to continue their good work and help the name of the R.O.C. to be wellrespected around the globe.
Ma further noted that he proposed his South China Sea Peace Initiative last month after the success of his East China Sea Peace Initiative proposed in August 2012 that has attained peaceful resolutions to decades-long fisheries and territorial disputes with Japan.
Similar in spirit to the East China Sea Peace Initiative, the new initiative calls on all parties concerned to exercise restraint, safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from taking any unilateral action that
The tension caused by territorial disputes in the South China Sea seems unlikely to ease in the near future, given the almostcompletion of Chinese runways on reclaimed land and Beijing’s possible deployment of J-11 fighter jets there, according to a Hong Kong newspaper report.
If China goes ahead, the deployment in the Spratly Islands, called the Nansha Islands in China, “would dramatically extend the reach of the nation’s military beyond its southernmost base at Sanya on Hainan Island,” said the June 21 report published in the English language South China Morning Post, citing unnamed analysts.
However, the report said the jets, built based on the Sovietdesigned Su-27, would be limited to a defensive role because it is an older model outclassed by aircraft in the U.S. Air Force.
The report said the J-11s have a range of 1,500 kilometers, which can be extended with additional fuel tanks. “Setting up operations on the islands would might escalate tensions, he noted.
Asked by reporters to comment on what Taiwan can do further to resolve disputes in the South China Sea other than the peace initiative proposal, Ma yesterday admitted that the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea are much more complicated than the East China Sea.
He noted that the sovereignty issue can hardly be resolved with China’s outright opposition to any form of third-party arbitration.
Ma said the R.O.C. will soon propose a more concrete roadmap on how all claimants can share resources in the region, thereby replacing sovereignty disputes.
Won’t Rule Out Visit Taiping: Ma
Meanwhile, Ma yesterday said he currently has no plan to visit Taiping Island, a Taiwan- con- move the reach of China’s air force about 1,000 km further south, and in conjunction with the Liaoning aircraft carrier, take China towards its stated goal of moving away from offshore defense to open-sea protection,” it said.
However, David Tsui, a military expert at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said the J-11s are only enough to defend the seven islands claimed by China in the region but are not sophisticated enough to be used in an attack, the report said.
China’s key rival will be the United States, and Beijing knows that if its military uses coercive measures or force to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the U.S. will definitely interfere, Tsui was cited as saying.
“China’s first carrier- based jet, the J-15, might be advanced enough to challenge the US F-18, but the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s main fighter jets, the J-11 and its variants, cannot compete with the F-22 and F-35 currently deployed by the U.S.,” Tsui said. trolled island in the South China Sea, in the near future, when asked to comment on the issue.
But he would not rule out the possibility of visiting since it is only natural to visit R.O.C. territory, he noted.
It was previously reported that Ma could visit Taiping to preside over the opening ceremony of a wharf facilities expansion project on the island this August or September.
Former President Chen Shuibian was the first R.O.C. leader to set foot on Taiping Island when he visited there on Feb. 2, 2008 for the inauguration of a new airstrip.
According to the Foreign Ministry, this was the president’s second inspection tour of the ministry since he assumed office in May 2008. He last visited the ministry in August 2008.