The Legislative Yuan yesterday issued a joint statement on the South China Sea ruling, rejecting “any arbitrary decision made by international arbitration” concerning the Republic of China’s (ROC) rights over “the South China Sea islands and their relevant waters.”
Amid inter-party struggles in the legislature over the bill dealing with ill-gotten party assets, the four party caucuses reached consensus over the nation’s stance toward the ruling on Tuesday by the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
A statement announced by Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) at 5pm yesterday said that the arbitration ruling has “seriously damaged the rights of the nation to its territory and the regional peace of the South China Sea.”
“The legislature, the ROC’s highest representative institution and authorized by the nation’s citizens, has made a resolution to make an international statement on the basis of facts and jurisprudence,” it said.
“The ROC enjoys the rights conferred by international law over its South China Sea islands and its relevant waters as they are, in terms of history, geography and international law, part of the ROC’s territory and waters. Any country’s claims or occupation or any international arbitration’s arbitrary decision will not be recognized by the ROC,” the statement said.
“The ROC has been substantively occupying and effectively governing Taiping Island [太平島, Itu Aba Island] of the South China Sea islands for more than half a century without interruption. Former presidents Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) both visited the island, which has infrastructure for daily living and administration and military construction, in 2008 and this year respectively and confirmed the nation’s occupation and sovereignty, which is not to be challenged by any country or arbitration,” it said.
The third point of the statement said that the ROC government has undertaken and will continue to undertake “both outward-facing and inward-facing sovereignty protecting actions regarding the South China Sea islands including Taiping.”
The “outward-facing” part will be continuing its campaign to show the international community and related organizations evidence affirming the nation’s rights and claims over the islands and their relevant waters; the “inward-facing” action will be continuing the building on Itu Aba, including bolstering the forces and military equipment stationed there, promoting academic research and tourism, and reinforcing the basic infrastructures for transportation, communications and environmental protection.
“Taiping Island is a natural island, not a rock. The arbitration tribunal’s judgement is obviously at odds with facts. And that the award refers to the nation as ‘Taiwan Authority of China’ has belittled the nation’s status as a sovereign nation and is unacceptable to the ROC government and its people,” the statement said.
The resolution to make the statement, the cross-caucus negotiation for which was initiated by the People First Party (PFP) caucus, was endorsed by all caucuses, the Democratic Progressive Party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the New Power Party and the PFP.
There was no mention of the “U-shaped line” or the “11-dash line” claims in the statement.
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