Taiwan for sharing riches of South China Sea
TAIPEI—Taiwan is pushing for joint explorations and development among claimant nations in the South China Sea as a path toward the peaceful resolution of the protracted dispute, hoping the parties would set aside sovereignty issues for the sake of mutual benefit.
Kao Ming-Tsun, senior advisor at Taipei’s Department of Economic Affairs, told visiting Manila journalists: “Our concept is that we should be sharing all these resources in these areas, whether in the East China Sea or South China Sea. We should all share the resources together.”
The Philippines calls its area in the waters the West Philippine Sea.
“Our position would be to share the resources, to put aside differences,” said Kao, who is involved in looking after Taipei’s affairs with China.
Taiwan and the Philippines are among the claimants to parts of the South China Sea, along with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, while the island state asserts its sovereignty and right to independent representation and participation in the international community.
The Philippines, meanwhile, observes a one-China policy, handling affairs with Taiwan through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) in Taipei.
Taiwan deals with the Philippines through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco) in Manila.
Among the more vocal claimants to disputed islands within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Philippines is pursuing an arbitration case in the United Nations to invalidate China’s “excessive” territorial delineation through its so-called nine-dash line.
Manila also hopes to stop Chinese incursions into its waters, including by fishing fleets, and the reclamation of islands by China within the Philippines’ EEZ.
Kao did not give a direct reply when asked Taiwan’s take on the Philippines’ arbitration case, instead calling for a “win-win” solution to the dispute.
“Of course, I understand that all the countries have their different interests at stake. However, if we could put aside all of these differences and put aside the sovereignty issue, we may be able to reach a consensus and try to share the resources that may be taken out of this area. Because that will probably be a better solution towards resolving the problem,” he said.
Kao likened the situation to the cross-straits ties between Taiwan and China, which he said has seen some improvement in recent years even while the relationship remains challenging.
“Between Taiwan and China there are also a lot of disputes and a lot of differences existing. However, if we’re able to put aside these disputes for the time being and together create a win-win situation, it will probably be most beneficial to all sides,” he said.
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