Scholar cites Ma’s peace initiative at Shangri-La forum

By Stephanie Chao, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese scholar Liu Fu-kuo (�B�_��) yesterday brought President Ma Ying-jeou’s proposal to ease tensions in the South China Sea dispute onto the table during the second day of the 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue (���樽�Թ���).

Defense chiefs from around the world are attending the dialogue �X otherwise referred to as the International Institute for Strategic Studies 14th Asia Security Summit �X and many reportedly believe China’s attempts at land reclamation in the disputed area are a troubling matter.

Liu, a researcher at National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, spoke at a plenary session on the topic of ��New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia�� on the second day of the talks. He was the first to cite Ma’s South China Sea Peace Initiative (�n���M����ij).

He compared Ma’s peace initiative to the plans put forward by Japan and the U.S. by saying that all three proposals shared the same goal: for all parties involved in the dispute to collaborate and set aside their differences.

Ma’s proposal calls upon all parties to exercise restraint, to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from taking any unilateral action that may trigger tensions. Parties concerned are also encouraged to propose any measures that promote peace and prosperity in the area, for example, setting up ��cooperation on sea systems or codes of conduct.��

According to Liu, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter proposed the U.S.’s own plan for security in the Southeast Asian seas during the ��The United States and Challenges of Asia-Pacific Security�� panel, also known as the ��Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative�� (�F�n�Ȯ��Ʀw����ij). Carter said that the ��(U.S.) Congress has taken steps to approve up to US$425 million for the maritime capacity-building efforts.�� Japanese Minister of Defense Nakatani Gen (������) also seized the opportunity at the ��New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia�� session to propose the ��Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative�� (���樽�Թ��ܭ�ij). The initiative revolves around three elements: wider promotion of regional common rules and laws at sea and in the air, enhancing maritime and aerospace security to ensure the safety of regional waters, and further improvement of disaster response capability.

Carter had said that in response to President Ma’s initiative, what is more important in the next stages is how to implement his plan; for example, whether after proposing the plan to other neighboring countries the Ma government should invest in research and discussion regarding the policy and open up practical actions throughout the countries involved.

This year’s Shangri-La Dialogue is being held from May 29-31 at Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel. Defense ministers from around the world will commence talks on important defense and security issues of the past year.