Sat, Jul 23, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT urges action to protect Itu Aba

PROVOCATION:KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang accused the president of ignoring the public’s will and doing nothing to assert Taiwan’s sovereignty over Itu Aba

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

From left, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Lee Yen-hsiu, Johnny Chiang and Alicia Wang talk to the media at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her administration to make “concrete moves” to defend the nation’s sovereignty by protecting five fishing boats that set sail for Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference, KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the five boats are expected to reach Itu Aba in three days.

“Has our government made any effort to guarantee their safety? Will they be able to pull into the island’s port? What is so wrong with our citizens safeguarding their own land?” he asked.

He said that a poll shows that more than 70 percent of the public support the idea of Tsai visiting Itu Aba.

“The president has been saying that she regards the public’s will as a crucial determining factor [in her decisionmaking]; it is time to demonstrate to the public that concrete measures can be taken to [protest to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling] besides holding national security meetings and making statements,” Chiang said.

Chiang said former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) also called on the government to take real action by filing a case at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

“Because we need to do more than just issue words disacknowledging the ruling,” he said.

KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) questioned Tsai’s bid to make Itu Aba “a base for providing humanitarian aid and supplies.”

“Why do we not start by helping our own fishermen?” she asked.

While Tsai said that the government could not “accept a deadline for conditions that are against the will of the people,” in relation to the so-called “1992 consensus,” she is now acting against the will of the people by not visiting Itu Aba, Wang said.

The “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Wang also accused Tsai of avoiding discussing the South China Sea issue for fear of antagonizing the US in an interview with the Washington Post, which was published yesterday.

As a Taiwan-Japan dialogue on maritime cooperation is taking place on Thursday next week, KMT lawmakers demanded that the government make an explicit claim during the talks that Okinotori atoll is a rock that does not meet the requirements to claim a 200 nautical mile (370.4km) exclusive economic zone.

“You did not bring up Taiping Island during the interview with the Washington Post for fear of provoking the US. We will see whether you are also going to be wimpish when facing Japan,” Wang said.

Contrary to Wang’s accusation, Tsai did say in the interview that Taiwan does not accept the ruling, as Taiwan is “an important interested party in the case” and was not invited to participate in the proceedings.

Tsai also took issue with Taiwan being referred as the “Taiwan Authority of China” and reiterated that Itu Aba is an island.

The KMT caucus also accused the DPP government of being vague on the issue of holidays.

“The Minister of Labor said that if the ‘two fixed off days’ is passed [rather than the Cabinet-backed ‘one fixed day off and one flexible rest day’] we would not have our Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend. As the amendment was stalled, what happens now? Are we to have the Mid-Autumn long weekend or not?” Chiang asked.

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