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Filipino pundit supports Ma's peace plan for South China Sea

Manila, May 29 (CNA) If the South China Sea Peace Initiative proposed by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (???) is accepted, it could prove beneficial to China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, said a columnist of the Manila Bulletin in an opinion piece on Friday. The columnist Fred Lobo said the proposal could also be beneficial "to the United States which is protesting possible Chinese control of air and sea lanes" in the disputed sea. Ma called on claimants of the South China Sea to shelve their disagreements on disputed territories and instead pursue negotiations on the joint development of resources in the initiative he presented in Taipei on Tuesday amid rising tensions in the region. Let's "listen to Ma and stop quarreling like kids" Lobo said, adding that the sharing of "resources is better than counting differences." China's military build-up in disputed islands and the flyover of a U.S. spy plane over parts of the sea which it considers "international waters" have created growing tensions, as well as stepped up military spending and maneuvers in the region, according to Lobo. Partly as a result of China's increasing military power, IHS Janes Defense Weekly says that the 10 nations of Southeast Asia are expected to spend US$58 billion on new military equipment over the next five years, Lobo said. Ma's peace initiative is similar to a 2012 proposal for the East China Sea, which allowed Taiwan and Japan to jointly fish in the contested waters, Lobo cited Reuters reports as saying. The United States welcomed Ma's initiative for peace in the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. official said Tuesday. We "appreciate Taiwan's call on claimants to exercise restraint, to refrain from unilateral actions that could escalate tensions, and to respect international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention," said the U.S. State Department acting deputy spokesman Jeff Rathke. (By Emerson Lim and Kuo Chung-han)

Updated : 2021-09-26 05:14 GMT+08:00