Sun, Apr 30, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Students visit Itu Aba to demonstrate nation’s soft power

Staff writer, with CNA

Seventeen graduate and doctoral students from three universities on Friday concluded a nine-day seminar, organized by the Ministry of National Defense on how Taiwan defends its territory in the disputed South China Sea.

Conducted mostly on Itu Aba (Taiping Island, 太平島), the students studied the government’s South China Sea military strategy and how sovereignty is defined under international law, the ministry said.

The students, accompanied by three lecturers, on April 20 sailed to Itu Aba on a La Fayette-class frigate, which was on a naval patrol mission to the South China Sea, the ministry said.

The group visited 11 sites, including a well, a farm and ruins of buildings built by the Aboriginals who once lived there.

They also took part in a flag-raising ceremony and mailed postcards.

The students visited navy and coast guard personnel posted on the island, and thanked them for their dedication to defending the territory, the ministry said.

The visit was part of the ministry’s efforts to declare sovereignty using soft power, the ministry said.

The 0.51km2 island lies about 1,600km southwest of Kaohsiung. It has been under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China since 1946.

Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei claim sovereignty over all or some of the South China Sea islands and their surrounding waters.

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