Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taiping Island to become humanitarian tasks base

Staff writer, with CNA

Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, will serve as a low-carbon base for undertaking humanitarian tasks, Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Minister Wang Chung-yi (王崇儀) says.

The move will promote peace and stability in the South China Sea, which is claimed in part or in whole by Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, Wang said.

He also reaffirmed the Republic of China’s (ROC) sovereignty over Taiping and its surrounding waters, in response to the US declaration that its navy and air force would sail and fly wherever international law allows, including disputed areas of the South China Sea.

The idea of transforming Taiping into a low-carbon island was first put forward by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to consolidate the nation’s sovereignty over the area by focusing on scientific research.

The government has already installed a solar power system on the island to produce electricity, along with diesel-powered generators, Wang said.

Construction of a wharf on the island remains on track and once the project is completed, 91-tonne ships will be stationed there and 2,721-tonne vessels will be able to dock, he added.

The facilities being built on Taiping and the deployment of the coast guard personnel there are aimed at humanitarian assistance and environmental protection, Wang said. Coast guard personnel on the island have rescued 12 people in 11 emergency missions since 2000.

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