Ma’s ini­tia­tive so­lu­tion to is­land dis­pute

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

The ten­sions over the East China Sea is­lands reached new lev­els of ten­sion af­ter Bei­jing de­clared eight un­in­hab­ited is­lands at the cen­ter of a ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute with Tokyo part of China’s new aerial zone (“China sets air de­fense zone over East China Sea’s dis­puted is­lands,” Web, Nov. 23). China warned of “de­fen­sive emer­gency mea­sures” if the zone is vi­o­lated. The dan­ger now is that the ac­tion in­creases the risk of mis­un­der­stand­ings, mis­cal­cu­la­tions and even a shoot­ing in­ci­dent.

The ris­ing ten­sions be­tween the Chi­nese and Ja­panese are mak­ing a mil­i­tary clash ever more likely. That would im­peril not just China and Ja­pan, but the re­gion’s peace and its mo­men­tous eco­nomic ad­vances. If China is to im­ple­ment fully the pol­icy of its air-de­fense iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone, there will be an in­creas­ing like­li­hood of con­flict and con­fronta­tion in the air be­tween Ja­pan and China. The world, in­clud­ing the United States, has a duty to warn China and Ja­pan be­fore it is too late — though warn­ings will be in­ter­preted as con­spir­a­cies. So who in the world will speak out against this un­fold­ing mad­ness?

There is an al­ter­na­tive and press­ing agenda. To this end, the United States, China and Ja­pan should pay se­ri­ous at­ten­tion to Tai­wanese Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou’s call for talks among the par­ties con­cerned for joint de­vel­op­ment of the seas around the dis­puted is­lands and for shelv­ing the sovereignty is­sue. Mr. Ma’s ini­tia­tive calls for all par­ties to re­frain from provo­ca­tion, shelve their dif­fer­ences, main­tain di­a­logue, ob­serve in­ter­na­tional law and re­solve the dis­pute by peace­ful means.

All par­ties con­cerned should work to­gether on achiev­ing the aims of the East China Sea Peace Ini­tia­tive as soon as pos­si­ble, so that the East China Sea can be­come a sea of “peace and co­op­er­a­tion.” Mr. Ma’s ini­tia­tive is the best way to ad­dress the sovereignty-of-is­lands dis­pute as it com­plies with the United States’ stance on this is­sue.

KENT WANG

Po­tomac Falls

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