Chunghwa Post is set to publish a set of stamps featuring Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) as part of the government’s efforts to assert its sovereignty over the South China Sea island.
The stamp collection is to be published tomorrow, the same day that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is to lead an entourage of political veterans to visit the island, including former premiers Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) and Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國), as well as former National Security Council secretaries-general Hu Wei-chen (胡為真), Su Chi (蘇起) and Jason Yuan (袁建生).
The set of stamps is called the “South China Sea Peace Initiative,” a proposal that Ma advocates to resolve territorial disputes.
Each set is to consist of four stamps with face values of NT$5, NT$9, NT$13 and NT$15, Chunghwa Post said.
The NT$5 stamp, designed to highlight Taiwan’s sovereignty over Itu Aba, shows a map of Taiwan in relation to other island groups, including the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) and the Pratas Islands (Donghsha Islands, 東沙群島), as well as the Macclesfield Bank (Zhongsha Islands, 中沙群島) and the Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島).
On the foreground stands a monument marking the completion of the pier construction on Itu Aba, inscribed with the Chinese characters signifying “peace in the South China Sea” and Itu Aba’s status as part of Taiwan’s “national borders.”
The NT$9 stamp, with peace as its theme, shows the Nansha Hospital and lighthouse on Itu Aba.
The NT$13 stamp shows the national monument on Itu Aba in the foreground and solar energy panels in the background, highlighting the government’s plan to turn the island into a low-carbon territory.
The NT$15 stamp features a walking trail, farm animals, vegetables and trees to show that the island is capable of sustaining life.
Ma first visited Itu Aba on Jan. 28. His administration subsequently organized trips for international media and legal experts to visit the island in March and last month respectively.
Tomorrow’s trip would be the latest move by the Ma administration to protect the nation’s territory, ahead of a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on a case brought by the Philippines against China, arguing that Itu Aba is a rock, not an island.
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