Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to file a case at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea with regard to the nation’s rights over islands in the South China Sea, while calling on the ruling and opposition parties to initiate a name-rectification movement for the nation.
Lu made the remarks at the legislature at a forum on how to rectify problems posed by a ruling issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday last week regarding a dispute between the Philippines and China over features in the South China Sea.
Lu said Taiwan is the one to suffer amid a wrestling match between China and the US over South China Sea issues, quoting an African proverb: “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”
Photo: Liao Chen-hui, Taipei Times
Losses the nation has sustained in terms of its maritime rights and resources are beyond measure, she said.
“Among the damage the ruling did was to downgrade Itu Aba Island [Taiping Island, 太平島], but even worse was its referring to Taiwan as the ‘Taiwan Authority of China’ on 12 occasions,” Lu said.
Lu said the ruling sent a loud message to the international community that Itu Aba is not an island and Taiwan is not a nation, adding that the Republic of China (ROC) was not even mentioned once.
The former vice president was referring to parts of the ruling that state all of the high-tide features in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), including Itu Aba, are legally “rocks” that do not merit an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.
Tsai’s administration, as well as lawmakers across party lines, have decried the ruling and refused to recognize it.
Lu said that the government should seriously ponder filing a case with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany, to prove that the “biased ruling” is not legally binding.
She also called for the initiation of an international “name rectification movement” to prove to the international community that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) told a routine press briefing in Taipei yesterday afternoon that the office appreciated Lu’s opinions, but that the government has taken measures to safeguard the nation’s rights over islands in the South China Sea and their waters.
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