Fri, Jul 27, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Assert sovereignty over disputed islands: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to express Taiwan’s firm position on its sovereignty in the South China Sea after Beijing’s establishment of a military garrison in the region.

“Ma should condemn Beijing’s unilateral move, which jeopardized regional security, as Vietnam, the Philippines and the US have all expressed similar concerns,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.

Beijing confirmed on Monday it would establish a military garrison and the government of the newly established city of Sansha (三沙) on Yongxing Island, part of the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島).

Lin said Ma’s silence about recent development in the South China Sea would likely create a false perception that Taiwan takes the same position as China, or even worse — that Taiwan is part of China.

However, Ma, as president, is obligated to reaffirm Taiwan’s sovereignty in the region, in particular since Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island (太平島), the largest of the Spratly Islands, has been included in the administrative zone of Sansha.

The DPP maintains its longstanding position that the issue should be peacefully resolved and a code of conduct in the South China Sea should be established under a multilateral mechanism.

Meanwhile, Lin said the DPP had taken notice of Beijing’s response to DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) comments yesterday, which stated the party’s wish to increase exchanges and mutual understanding with China.

Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅) was quoted as saying that “Beijing has been aware of the DPP’s intention for closer exchanges, but if the DPP insists on its position of ‘one country on each side,’ China would strongly oppose that.”

The DPP would be willing to increase bilateral exchanges if there were no preconditions, Lin said, adding that preconditions would only impede interactions for both sides.

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