Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan.
“We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait. It is clearly intended to warn off China against any military moves on Taiwan, and to preserve regional peace and stability,” wrote Wang, who is in Poland on an official visit.
“Yet KMT members are speaking against the Strait being an international waterway, even saying that Taiwan should not be embroiled if a conflict were to occur between the US and China in the Strait,” he said.
“It is shameful for our nation to hear such remarks. Taiwanese who have voted for the KMT must wake up to see that it is a party of traitors who are subverting our nation from within to sell it out to the enemy,” Wang wrote.
“Meanwhile, KMT members do not dare to speak about China’s military buildup in preparation to wage war against Taiwan... The existence of the KMT in Taiwan is apparently for the purpose of colluding with China, to help expedite a Chinese invasion of Taiwan,” he added.
Separately, National Taiwan University law professor Chiang Huang-chih (姜皇池) said China’s claim that the Strait is its “internal waters” has no legal standing under international law.
“China is trying to take the Strait under its control to impede the movement of foreign vessels and warships, which is a serious contravention of freedom of navigation and international maritime laws,” Chiang said.
National defense expert Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said Beijing’s claim is the latest move in its military planning, which started with the enforcement of its Maritime Police Law in January last year, followed by its Maritime Traffic Safety Law in September.
“These moves were accompanied by actions, such as Chinese warplanes intruding Taiwan’s airspace and encircling the nation. The Chinese leadership is conducting warfare by combining military strategy and international law,” Su said.
Attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎), chairman of the Taiwan Forever Association, accused the KMT of acting as a stooge for China on the Strait issue, as well as undermining national security and betraying the alliance of democratic countries.
“China unilaterally declared the Taiwan Strait as its internal waters, which alters the ‘status quo’ and contravenes the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he said.
“The KMT has never changed its core pro-China values. There are tensions between the US and China, but the KMT thinks of nothing to betray Taiwan’s democratic partner — the US — and contrives to sabotage Taiwan’s national security,” he added.
DPP spokesman Huang Shih-chieh (黃世杰) said that Alexander Huang’s remarks conform to China’s stance, adding that he is oblivious to Beijing’s military ambitions to upend regional stability.
“KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) touts his party for being ‘pro-US,’ but his envoy gave Chu a slap in the face and harmed Taiwan’s security situation,” Huang Shih-chieh said.
KMT officials yesterday in a statement partly backtracked on the matter, saying that the KMT would not accept China claiming the Strait as its internal waters.
“We resolutely welcome all the nations of the world to transit through the Strait’s international waters. They have the legal right to transit by marine vessels and aircraft,” the statement said.
“Foreign vessels transiting through the Strait would help maintain regional peace and security for Taiwan. The KMT believes that different interpretations of the issue should be handled by legal experts and academics,” it said.
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