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Ma meets AIT chairman, touts peace initiative

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday met with American Institute in Taipei Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt (薄瑞光) at the Presidential Office and said that the overlapping of Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZs) over the East China Sea should be solved through negotiations.

The R.O.C. government issued a stern response following mainland China's ADIZ move over the East China Sea, the president said.

The president added that his administration was not consulted beforehand, and that Beijing's move was not conducive to the bettering of cross-strait ties.

Airliners have requested that the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) forward their flight plans to the CAA's mainland Chinese counterpart on their behalf, Ma said.

U.S. airline companies have also taken similar measures with their government's approval, the president said, adding that Seoul has also given its approval to South Korean airlines to forward their flight plans.

With the exception of two Japanese airlines, others carriers in Japan have begun doing the same, Ma said.

The president said that his administration's basic concern is the safety of civil aircraft.

Flights from Taipei to Qingdao and Dalian pass over Taiwan and Japan's overlapping Flight Information Region (FIR) and ADIZ, Ma said, adding that from Taiwan's perspective, the flights are crossing over Taiwan's FIR, but from Japan's perspective, the flights are crossing over Japan's ADIZ.

The president said that Japan has requested flight plans from Taiwanese airlines and that Taiwan has complied.

Before 2011, there have been cases of Japanese military aircraft intercepting and interfering with Taiwanese and other countries' civil aircraft, but there have been no such cases after 2011, Ma said.

Mainland China's East China Sea ADIZ move is clearly related to the Diaoyutai Islands; therefore, the administration has, in response, reasserted its sovereignty over the islands, and it will continue protecting the operations of Taiwanese fishermen in that region, Ma said.

The president reiterated his East China Sea Peace Initiative, urging all related parties to refrain from raising tensions and to resolve disputes through negotiations.

Not Enough Local Students in US: Ma

On another note, the president told Burghardt that there are approximately 25,000 Taiwanese students enrolled in U.S. schools, and that for the sake of the development of Taiwan-U.S. relations, that number should be increased.

Ma pointed out that previous figures were much higher than the current figure, and added that the phenomenon may have been caused by more students choosing the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada for further studies.

The government is currently looking into plans to encourage more local students to go to the U.S., as well as to encourage more U.S. students to come to Taiwan, Ma said.

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