• London


Regarding the Sept. 20 editorial “Cooler heads needed over islet row“: It is so right that cooler heads are urgently needed for the islet row in the East China Sea, but it is hard to make both China and Taiwan believe that Japan’s “nationalization” of these uninhabited islands serves their interests — unless Japan can lead a collaborative mechanism for all three parties to work together.

The deterioration of the situation has harmed Japan’s bilateral relations with both neighbors and is likely to cause irrational economic sanctions. Japan may find that more persuasion will not help the situation. What will be required is substantial action that effectively defuses current tension and starts future cooperation.

We must agree that there is no resolution to resolve this sovereignty issue except international arbitration, although a successful program led by Japan to bring its two neighbors together to jointly explore and develop natural resources under contested waters would definitely help to shelve controversies.

Taiwan has so far been the only cool head in the room. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has proposed a peace initiative urging a start to constructive dialogue for this purpose. Japan should pay serious attention to it.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

charles i-hsin chen

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