A modest solution to the China-Japan dispute over islands: They belong to Taiwan

Special to WorldTribune.com

By Sol W. Sanders

TAIPEI – Annette Lu Hsiu-lien, former Taiwan vice president, proposes a demilitarized settlement of the East China islands flash point between China and Japan.

In an interview with WorldTribune, Lu claimed Taiwan actually has the best claim to the Diaoyutai/Senkaku chain of uninhabited islands. Although China seems to have backed off a bit from earlier fiery statements, the battle of claims between the Mainland and Japan has come close to bringing on armed clashes between Tokyo and Beijing.

“Geologically, the Diaoyutais are made up of igneous rocks, and their chemical and geographic characteristics are the same as Taiwan’s Mt. Datun …”, Lu claimed. “It is a natural prolongation of Taiwan’s territory …’

In fact, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou sent a military escort with fishing ships into the contested area, to the consternation of the U.S., Japan and the Mainland Chinese.

Lu, noted for her fiery calls for formal independence of Taiwan, now says the issue is moot following what she calls “the 1965 consensus”, the first free elections in Chinese history which brought her Democratic Progressive Party to power. The DPP has since lost out to two terms to the old Kuomintang Party of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek but with President Ma Ying-jeou low in the polls; her DPP is getting excited about possibilities in 2016.

To resolve the dispute, Lu proposes a treaty among all three claimants modelled on the Antarctica Treaty dividing up the claims on the South Pole.

“All armed forces [shall] withdraw from 12 nautical miles of the islets so as to restore peace to the area,” she proposes.

“No territorial sovereignty claims should be allowed to undermine the status quo and stability of the area. No military or nuclear activities are allowed go be conducted in this area. Develop the Diaoyugais as an international marine conservation zone through cooperation of the UN, Japan, China and Taiwan. The development shall be exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

Although Lu holds no DPP post and is not considered a candidate in 2016, the Harvard graduate still wields power among the Taiwanese – distinguished from the offspring of two million Mainlanders who fled from the Communists on the Mainland in 1949.

Lu also leads a hard-hitting campaign against expansion of nuclear power with a third Taiwan plant halted in mid-construction by the previous DPP administration.