An expedition team backed by state-run petrochemical refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan has conducted first geological survey in 32 years on the Itu Aba (Taiping Island, 太平島).
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who is on the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, said that the team, which arrived on the island on Monday, was made up of personnel from CPC, the Bureau of Mines and National Cheng Kung University.
On Taiwan-controlled Taiping, the largest island in the disputed Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) in the South China Sea, the team conducted surveys of geologic structures and magnetic fields and compiled new maps.
The expedition concluded on Wednesday, Lin said.
Lin’s committee proposed the mission on May 2 last year.
After the government announced plans to build a wharf on the island, agencies have moved forward with dispatching several research vessels in the region, he said.
The estimated NT$17 million (US$578,000) needed for those missions came from a crude oil fund operated by the Bureau of Energy, he added.
Taiping Island is about 1,600km southwest of Greater Kaohsiung and was first claimed by the Republic of China government in 1947.
Since President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) took office in 2008, his administration authorized CPC to engage in resource exploration in the waters surrounding Taiping, Lin said.