Amid ongoing tension in the South China Sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday issued a statement expressing its severe concern over and strong protest against other countries’ actions as it reiterated the nation’s claims of sovereignty in the region.
Without identifying a specific incident and/or claimant, the ministry said that the actions taken by “countries bordering the South China Sea” were “inappropriate.”
“The statement was meant to respond to the overall situation. We considered it necessary to repeat our position in light of a spate of incidents involving some specific countries,” ministry spokesperson Steve Shia (夏季昌) said.
The ministry said that the Spratly Islands (南沙群島), 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 are inherent territory of the Republic of China (ROC) based on historical and geographical circumstances and also international law.
The government reasserts that it enjoys all rights over the islands and their surrounding waters and that it does not accept any claims to sovereignty over, or occupation of, these areas by other countries, the statement said.
Calling on claimants to abide by the principles and spirit of international laws and refrain from taking any unilateral action that adversely affects stability and peace, the ministry said that issues related to the region should be dealt with through dialogue and in a peaceful manner.
The ROC would like to participate in such dialogue, from which it has thus far been excluded, to seek solutions to the disputes and to jointly pursue peace, stability and development in the region, it said.
In the end, the ministry said the ROC upholds the basic principles of “safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, peace and joint exploration” with other countries to look for resources in the area.