Taiwan has the capacity and is willing to participate in multilateral negotiations to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Friday.
It also reaffirmed its territorial claims in the region.
“The South China Sea islands are part of the territory of the Republic of China,” ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.
The ministry’s comments came in the wake of an agreement between China and ASEAN on a draft code of conduct that lays the foundation for negotiations over the disputed South China Sea.
The agreement was reached at the annual ministerial meeting between China and ASEAN member states in Singapore on Thursday.
Although Taiwan holds Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), it was shut out of the agreement, but the ministry said it feels it should have a say.
Taiwan is a constructive member of the international community and has the will to deal with issues related to the South China Sea based on the “four principles” and “five actions” put forth by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in July 2016, Lee said.
One of the four principles refers to settling the dispute peacefully in accordance with international law and the law of the sea, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the ministry said.
The five actions pertain to safeguarding Taiwan’s fishing rights and its rights to participate in multilateral negotiations, to promote scientific cooperation, to strengthen humanitarian response, and to continue nurturing and encouraging research talent in the law of the sea.
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