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China's islands stance likely to stay same: scholars

TAIPEI--China after its imminent political reshuffle is likely to maintain its strategic plan for the Diaoyutai Islands and continue to deploy maritime surveillance vessels to waters around the disputed islands, scholars from Taiwan and Japan said yesterday.

"As China's interests will be unchanged, there is unlikely to be any big change after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China" that begins Nov. 8, said Liu Fu-kuo, executive director of National Chengchi University's MacArthur Center for Security Studies.

However, a "more complete" picture of what China is going to do will emerge after the congress, Liu said on the sidelines of a dialogue of scholars from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

He said that given the countries with competing claims to the uninhabited islands — China, Japan and Taiwan — are all unwilling to give in on the sovereignty issue, "it is very difficult to negotiate over the dispute at the moment."

Liu suggested that the three parties put aside their differences so that they can jointly develop the area's rich resources.

The government in Taiwan is hoping to hold a new round of fishery talks with Japan in November, but the two sides are still negotiating key details such as the location of the talks and what issues are to be on the agenda.

Yoshihide Soeya, director of Keio University's Institute of East Asian Studies, told CNA that he does not expect to see any progress in the immediate future.

He said China is expected to continue to pressure Japan, because that is what China is doing now.

Although Japan is trying not to provoke China, the Chinese government seems to be using a variety of methods, such as increasing economic pressure, to force Japan to acquiesce to China's demands, he said.

Soeya said other Asian countries such as Taiwan can "play some role" in maintaining peace in Asia, but he added that this will not be easy, because China will not allow Taiwan to play such a role.

Tension has escalated among Taiwan, Japan and China over the East China Sea archipelago, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in Taiwan, the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, ever since Japan made moves to nationalize the island chain by buying three of the uninhabited islets from its private owner on Sept. 11.

1 Comment
October 30, 2012    hnlee@
As a Chinese, I hope Taiwan, or ROC if you like, will think very clearly on what its role is on the island dispute. It must not weaken China's position with any excuse. The Chinese people will not forgive Taiwan if Taiwan is reckless and selfish as to ignore the fact that the whole of China is involved now, including Taiwan. The ROC might have moved to Taiwan in 1949, it is still responsible to all the Chinese people including those in the mainland. This is an issue for ALL the Chinese people, not only for Taiwan. It must be extra, extra careful if it conducts any fishery talk with Japan because sovereignty is always involved.

China's history will not be kind to Taiwan if it sells out China's interest.
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