- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
- Obama’s ‘Katrina moment’ leaves his favorability factor at 42 percent
- Feds tout nearly 200 arrests, $625K in seized cash in Texas border crackdown
- Joy Behar: Sarah Palin should be ‘turning letters over on some game show’
- Rhino poacher in South Africa sentenced to 77 years in jail
- John Kerry defies FAA and flies to Israel to talk peace
- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
U.S. silence over island dispute risks escalation in East China Sea, analysts say
Question of the Day
The United States, which has carefully refrained from choosing sides in the simmering diplomatic row over a remote and rocky island chain in the East China Sea, needs to get more involved in the three-sided dispute or else risk it escalating, Taiwanese analysts say.
“The United States has to play the role of guarantor, to guarantee that the parties concerned in the [East China Sea] region don’t resort to war” to settle their competing claims for the islands, said Edward I-Hsin Chen, a former legislator who now teaches at Tamkang University in Taiwan.
The two professors, visiting Washington on a trip arranged by the Taiwan government, discussed the island dispute with editors and reporters at The Washington Times earlier this week.
The islands are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan. The islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – are tiny, uninhabited and rocky. However, they sit astride vital shipping lanes and atop vast fishing grounds and untapped oil and gas reserves.
Sovereignty would bring with it exclusive resource development rights – the kind of prize China is seeking as it flexes its economic and strategic muscles over Asia’s vast oceans.
“The United States must increase its role as a peacekeeper,” Mr. Chen added.
He warned that an escalation of the crisis could too easily spiral into all-out war.
“Once the current conflict escalates, there may be something beyond U.S. control, and that would not be in [the] U.S. national interest,” he said.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has proposed a diplomatic initiative that would set aside disputes over sovereignty to allow the three parties to work together to tap the islands’ natural resources.
“Non-sovereignty issues are something we can reach agreement on,” Mr. Song said.
However, the United States hasn’t expressed public support of the Ma plan, the scholar said, although the proposal is backed by several of its European allies, including Britain.
“We have not heard any positive [statements of] support from the United States government,” he added.
The islands have been administered by Japan since the 1950s when the United States returned them to Tokyo’s control, although other Chinese territory the Japanese had annexed before World War II was returned to China.
The dispute over sovereignty was reignited earlier this year when Shintaro Ishihara – a fierce Japanese nationalist who was governor of Tokyo at the time – announced he would solicit funds to buy the islands and put them in a public trust. The national government quickly purchased the islands, heading off that populist maneuver.
Mr. Shintaro’s stunt prompted a fierce reaction in China where mobs attacked Japanese diplomatic facilities and businesses. China responded by deploying coast guard and non-military patrol ships to the islands to accompany its fishing vessels, which troll the islands’ waters under a deal with Tokyo.
Since then, the islands have been the site for several high-profile confrontations between Chinese and Japanese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels.
In September, Tsai Eng-meng, a pro-China media mogul in Taiwan, underwrote sending a flotilla of 50 Taiwanese fishing vessels to the islands. The demonstration was designed to underline their rights to fish the islands’ waters, the fishermen said.
But, he added, cooperation is necessary in areas such as “law enforcement at the lower levels.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare in intensive care
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Contrasting judgments on Obama's health care hours apart; appeals court calls subsidies unlawful
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq