Proposal passes asking Ma to visit islands in disputed sea

By Joseph Yeh,The China Post

The China Post –A legislative committee yesterday passed a proposal in asking President Ma Ying-jeou to consider embarking on inspection tours to two Taiwan-controlled islands in the disputed South China Sea to demonstrate the country’s claim in the territory amid escalating sovereignty conflicts. The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) initiative, however, was passed following a fierce verbal confrontation between two lawmakers over the issue that nearly turned into a fistfight.

The DPP’s proposal made at the Legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee originally asked Ma to demonstrate the country’s sovereignty by visiting Taiping Island (太平島) and Dongsha Island (東沙島) as soon as possible. The DPP’s Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), the proposition’s initiator, said the president’s trip is necessary and could have significant meaning in showcasing Taiwan’s claims in the region as several countries are fighting over the ownership in the South China Sea. He called on Ma to follow the example of former President Chen Shui-bian who previously visited Taiping, the largest of the Spratly Islands, in 2008.

But the proposal was opposed by several ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers who called it too dangerous for a national leader and would further raise regional tension. Tsai-Chen Confrontation

The KMT’s Chen Chen-hsiang (陳鎮湘), a retired general and former Army Commander-in-Chief, further noted that the now-jailed Chen was “silly and bold” in visiting Taiping four years ago, an example that Ma should not follow. “Should Ma also be learn from Chen Shui-bian’s example of being corrupt?” Chen added. The ex-general’s comment immediately drew strong protest from Tsai that further led to a heated debate between the two that nearly turned into a fistfight. The fierce quarrel lasted for several moments until they were separated by fellow colleagues.