A second day of live-fire drills conducted by the Coast Guard Administration on one of the disputed Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) drew condemnation from Vietnam, which also claims the South China Sea chain as its territory.
The drills are conducted annually on the Taiwan-administered Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島), said Shih Yi-che (施義哲), the administration’s head of communications.
In 2008, Taiwan built a 1,150m-long airstrip on the islet, which is known as Ba Binh in Vietnam and is also claimed by China. Aside from these three competing claims, all or parts of the Spratlys are also contested by Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said the drills violate Vietnam’s sovereignty, threaten maritime security and add to tensions in the area.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) did not immediately return two calls to her office, while Shih said he was not aware of the complaint.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) said by telephone yesterday that Taiwan must strengthen its military presence on Taiping, given China’s land reclamation in the Spratlys.
Beijing has been carrying out land reclamation projects in both the Spratlys and Paracels (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) — which Taiwan claims — as it seeks to extend the reach of its military in one of the world’s busiest waterways.
A legislative committee last week commissioned a study on the possibility of stationing warships on Taiping, while the government has earmarked NT$3.3 billion (US$110.24 million) to build a new wharf there.
China has been more aggressively asserting its territorial claims to more than 90 percent of the waterway, disregarding the multiple claims of sovereignty.
It completed an upgraded airstrip in the Paracel Islands last month, prompting a similar complaint from Vietnam.
Hanoi was also angered earlier this year when Beijing moved an oil rig into waters off its coast, prompting weeks of skirmishes between vessels from both sides and leading to deadly anti-China riots in Vietnam in May. China removed the rig in July.
Taiwanese firms were also affected by the riots, apparently because rioters mistakenly thought they were Chinese-owned.
Taiwan is the fourth-largest foreign investor in Vietnam. Last year, Vietnam had a US$7.2 billion trade deficit with Taiwan, according to Hanoi government data.
Taiwanese investment in the country reached US$723.4 million in the year through last month.
Additional reporting by staff writer
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei. “What I’ve been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important,” Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US’ pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China. Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies,