CHINA'S MUSCLE

Charting a path toward stability

The Star Tribune was right, in its Dec. 5 editorial, in saying diplomacy is the best instrument for dealing with the crisis provoked by China's assertion of the right to control air traffic over disputed islands in East Asia. There should be no need for military force or intimidation to settle this conflict. For starters, since we advised civilian airlines to comply with Chinese demands and file flight plans with China, we should suggest the airlines send the same plans to Japan and South Korea, thereby avoiding the appearance of backing China's claims to special status.

RICHARD VIRDEN, Plymouth

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Regarding the increased tension in the East China Sea region as a result of mainland China's unilateral declaration of an air defense identification zone, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is concerned about these developments as the zones of both sides have overlapped. Mainland China's move therefore is not helpful to cross-strait relations.

The mainland's zone does not change Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands. The ROC Ministry of National Defense will take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our airspace and protect our fishermen and their lawful interests and activities.

The Dec. 5 editorial wisely called for the United States to focus on "finding new ways to engage China on collective threats that should unite the region." Taiwan continues to urge all parties involved to exercise restraint as stated in the East China Sea Peace Initiative put forth by President Ma-Ying-jeou, encouraging dialogue, the observation of international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes thorough bilateral or multilateral negotiations. President Ma has called for the mainland not to establish the air defense identification zone in the South China Sea, further heating up the tension in the region.

This is the surest path to regional peace and stability.

BAUSHUAN GER, Chicago

The writer is director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago.

WINTER DRIVING

A few more reminders would be in order

"Too many drivers are just scraping by" (Dec. 10) was a good reminder. In addition to your personal vehicle, let's not forget to de-ice and de-snow the business fleet, including roofs not easily reached. A huge chunk of icy snow flew off the top of a semitrailer truck and struck my windshield. I'm not a math or science whiz, so maybe someone can figure out the effects of a 30-pound ice chunk traveling at 55 miles per hour.

SUSAN HEGARTY, Apple Valley

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What is it about a snowfall that causes increased gridlock? Perhaps a refresher course is in order.

Minnesota Statute 169.15 prohibits a driver from entering an intersection controlled by a traffic signal "until the driver is able to move the vehicle immediately, continuously, and completely through the intersection without impeding or blocking the subsequent movement of cross traffic." On behalf of all bus riders —and the valiant Metro Transit drivers dealing not only with snow and increased passenger loads, but block after block of gridlock — how about bringing back a little "Minnesota Nice" when behind the wheel of your car?

PHYLLIS RODEN, Minneapolis

MASS TRANSIT

The more info at bus stops, the merrier

I am a recent transplant to the Edina/south Minneapolis area and am unfamiliar with a lot of the landscape. As a retiree, I would look forward to using Metro Transit opportunities if I only felt more familiar with them ("Building a better bus stop," Dec. 10). I have a bus stop close to my new home, but all I can tell from the signage is that a bus comes by. Nothing about when it might come and go; nothing about where it's come from or going to — just a stop along the line. I'm not a smartphone owner (I barely have a working phone) and am not interested in buying one to try and figure out my local bus stop. It would be nice if, as pointed out in the Dec. 10 article, Metro Transit would make its signage as informational as Seattle's. If we are serious about getting more people using mass transit, we have to consider how we can make it more user-friendly. More info at bus stops would certainly encourage me.

JIM STROMBERG, Edina

DIALECT MAP

Important work, but not a discovery

Regarding "Not from around here" (Dec. 10), reprinted from "Washington Post: True, all of us have accents and use words that betray the place where we grew up. According to the article, Robert Delaney from Long Island University "developed a dialect map that identifies 24 regions of American English." No, put together, rather than "developed." The sounds, grammatical forms and words of American English have been investigated in minute detail. One can consult a series of linguistic atlases and the recently completed Dictionary of American Regional English, the fruit of many decades' labor by a team at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This is not to detract from Delaney's achievement, but recognition should have been given to his sources. Otherwise, those who are not specialists in such matters may think that a revolutionary discovery has been made.

ANATOLY LIBERMAN, Minneapolis