The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that no code of conduct in the South China Sea would be binding on Taiwan if Taipei is not included in negotiations and dialogues aimed at creating a set of rules to avoid conflict among rival claimants in the region.
The declaration was made on Friday after Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told the Central News Agency that all ASEAN members adhere to the “one China” policy.
As a result, regarding Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea, ASEAN sees China as the representative in negotiations concerning the claims, Jose said.
The ministry said that as a nation with independent sovereignty, it is beyond doubt that the Republic of China (ROC) is entitled to the rights stipulated in international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea over its claims in the disputed waters.
The ministry reiterated the government’s stance that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully through a multilateral dispute-resolution mechanism under the principles of shelving disputes and pursuing joint development.
On the basis of consultation on an equal footing, “the ROC is willing to promote the peace and stability of the South China area jointly with the countries concerned, and safeguard the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea,” the ministry said.
The Philippines, which is chairing ASEAN, is to play the leading role in organizing a series of ASEAN meetings this year, including those aimed at crafting a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has said that in the the present international environment, it would be difficult for Taiwan to participate in the negotiations or dialogues.
The department last month said that ASEAN and China “are working very hard” to beat their self-imposed deadline for the development of the framework.