Taiwan has registered its unwavering assertion of sovereignty over the South China Sea with the Philippine government, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
“The Republic of China [ROC] possesses sovereignty over the South China Sea. We would like to cooperate with other countries to explore resources, but will not allow any act of intrusion upon our sovereignty,” said James Tien (田中光), director-general of the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
The remarks came in response to continued actions by Manila to conduct a bid for the oil and gas exploration in the Reed Bank, part of the contested Spratly Islands (南沙群島).
The ministry said in a press release on Monday that the Spratlys, the Paracel Islands (西沙群島), Macclesfield Bank (中沙群島) and the Pratas Islands (東沙群島), as well as their surrounding waters, were ROC territory based on historical and geographical circumstances, and international law.
Taipei urged Manila and other claimants to refrain from making unilateral moves that would impact peace and stability in the region, the statement said.
Since March last year, the ministry has repeatedly issued statements asserting the ROC’s sovereignty over the South China Sea.
According to a Central News Agency report in Manila, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) declined to offer a formal response to Taipei’s statement because of its adherence to the “one China” policy and the absence of diplomatic relationships between the Philippines and Taiwan.
DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez was quoted by the agency as saying the oil and gas fields lie within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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