Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has said in his New Year's address that the ongoing fishery talks between Taiwan and Japan are an "important first step" for tackling territorial and maritime boundary disputes in the East China Sea and turning it into a "sea of peace and cooperation."
Ma said the principle of his "East China Sea Peace Initiative," which he unveiled last August, is "to shelve disputes over sovereignty and promote the joint exploration of resources."
"The fishing negotiations currently under way (between Taiwan and Japan) represent an important first step," the Japan Times quoted him, as saying.
Japan's relations with Taiwan and China have been tense over the past year due to a territorial dispute over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea which are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, Tiaoyutai in Taiwan and Diaoyu in China.
To bring about peace in the East China Sea, Ma's initiative envisages Japan, Taiwan and China initially conducting bilateral talks among each other and gradually moving on to trilateral negotiations on joint development of resources.
In his New Year's address, Ma also said his government looks forward to working with new leaders of Japan, China and South Korea "to ease tensions so that economic cooperation will once again be the main focus of relations in East Asia, as it should be." (ANI)