A path to peace in land, resource disputes
A Taiwan-Japan agreement on fisheries near the Senkaku islands sets a model for China in avoiding dangerous moves on island claims.
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“Economic growth will help us be able to provide ... an atmosphere, within which people have greater confidence about moving forward,” he said.Skip to next paragraph
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Such hopes for an “economic peace,” as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls it, will be difficult as long as Israel controls so much of Palestinian land, airspace, water, and communications.
The world does not lack for examples of mutual investment as a pacifying tool. Russia and Norway agreed in 2010 to joint oil development in a disputed area of the Barents Sea. Mexico and the United States agreed this year to jointly manage oil drilling along a maritime boundary. Many bilateral agreements have taken place in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and Singapore.
The pacts set a model for China to follow. “Joint development can probably provide some tactical level victories in managing flash points,” said Lloyd Thrall of the RAND Corp. at a recent hearing of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. But he warns that such agreements “treat symptoms rather than addressing root causes.”
Buying time, however, is a common strategy in diplomacy. It allows nationalist passions to cool and a common purpose between nations to grow.
Lest Beijing’s new leaders forget, Japan and China declared in a summit meeting just six years ago to make the East China Sea a “sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.”