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An initiative for peace in the South China Sea

To the editor: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is right to worry about the potential of the "militarization" of the South China Sea. As a sovereignty claimant in this region, Taiwan welcomes U.S. efforts to seek peaceful resolution to territorial disputes that involve China. ("Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warns Beijing on South China Sea island-building," May 29)

But attempting to solve the sovereignty issue would be a long and arduous process. Therefore, before a major conflict breaks out, a more pragmatic and forward-looking course of action will need to be taken.

Drawing on past successful resolutions of territorial disputes, on May 26 President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the South China Sea Peace Initiative, which emphasizes the idea that while sovereignty cannot be divided, natural resources can be shared. The initiative calls on all parties to shelve disputes, to refrain from adopting unilateral measures and to promote joint exploration and resource development.

On that same day, a U.S. State Department spokesman said that the United States "appreciated" Ma's proposal. Certainly, it is our sincere hope that the United States will fully support the initiative as a way to preserve regional peace and stability.

Steve C.C. Hsia, Los Angeles

The writer is director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.

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