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Manila's plan for S. China Sea airstrip infringes on territory, says Taiwan's foreign ministry
Publication Date : 18-01-2013
The Republic of China government will not recognise the Philippines' recent plan to refurbish an airstrip on a disputed island in the South China Sea, a Taiwanese official said yesterday, calling the move an infringement to the nation's sovereignty.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Steve Hsia reiterated the ROC's claim over the region, adding that the Taiwan government has expressed a most severe protest to Manila.
“The Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands, known respectively as the Nansha Islands and the Shisha Islands in Taiwan, as well as their surrounding waters, sea beds, and subsoil, are an inherent part of the territory of the ROC, he noted.
Taiwan reiterates that it maintains the principles of “safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, pursuing peace and reciprocity, and promoting joint exploration”, and is willing to work with other countries involved in harvesting the resources of the South China Sea, he said.
Hsia's comments came after media reported that the Philippine government is planning to refurbish an airstrip on Zhongye Island, known as Pagasa in the Philippines, and develop a number of other islets in the Nansha Islands as tourist destinations.
Meanwhile, asked to comment on local government's plan to expand its wharf and airstrip at the Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island in the South China Sea, Hsia yesterday said that any construction on the outlying island is legitimate since it is part of the nation's territories.
Taiping, which lies around 1,600 kilometres southwest of Kaohsiung, is currently manned by more than 100 Taiwanese Coast Guard troops.
Mainland China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines also claim all or part of the Spratly archipelago.