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Taiwan legislator:Vietnam is 'ready to fight'
Taiwan News, Staff Writer , Taiwan News, Newspaper
2012-05-15 11:04 AM
The spat over sovereignty in the South China Sea continues to ratchet up as the focus shifts to the Spratly Islands. Three legislators from Taiwan made a secret visit to the Nansha area’s Taiping Island in late April, leading Vietnam to register a protest on May 10 saying that its sovereignty over the islands has been violated. One of the legislators in the group, Lin Yu-fang visited Taiping Island said in an interview with the US’ VOA that he rejects Vietnam’s claims, saying “Vietnam likes to fight too much”.

Spokesman Liang Qing-yi of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said at a press conference: “Vietnam is opposed to Taiwan officials visiting Vietnam’s Ha-pin Island (Taiping Island) and reiterated Vietnam’s claim to sovereignty.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry reiterated that sovereignty over Taipei Island belongs to the ROC and should be based on the principles of international law and the spirit of peaceful settlement of disputes through consultation and dialogue.

On the Foreign Ministry protest, Lin Yu-fang said: “They are always so tough. I was not surprised, but I cannot accept what they said.”

Lin said that Vietnam’s reaction was entirely expected, because for many years Vietnam has insisted on concessions from others in the area.

He noted that Taiwan’s sovereignty over Taiping Island extends to the waters around the island to a distance of 6000 meters. We tell other nations we cannot allow their ships to come closer than 6000 meters from the island.” In recent years, Vietnam’s vessels have made more and more violations of our waters.

The Philippines has never committed many violations, and they finally stopped coming, and there have been no further violations by Philippine ships.

As for China, in the past the largest number of violations were by Chinese ships, but the number has declined recently and from January to April this year thee have been no violations of the Taiping Island waters by Chinese vessels.

Lin Yu-fang said that the ROC’s sovereignty in the area has been undisputed except for the first year following the end of the civil war when the ROC withdrew from the UN, resulting in a deterioration in the international environment, so that other countries sensed an opportunity.

Lin said the Vietnamese like to fight too much. He noted that Taiping Island, including the Dun Qian sandbar, is occupied by ROC troops. After the end of World War Two in 1945 Chiang Kai-shek sent warships to all of the islands in the South China Sea, he said. The ship that relieved the Japanese occupying forces was called the Taiping, so the island was named Taiping Island. For other islands, the name used was the captain of the ship.

Lin Yu-fang firmly defended the ROC’s claim to Taiping Island: but said that the Vietnamese have always been consistent. He noted, “I think we should remember that they have never attacked Taiping Island, and will not attack Taiping Island. Given the size of the ROC garrison,anyone who attacks Taiping Island, will pay a considerable price. And even if they should succeed in occupying it, we must re-take it at whatever cost.

In 2008 former president Chen Shui-bian visited Taiping Island as the first head of state from Taiwan to conduct an inspection. Taiping Island is under the jurisdiction of Kaohsiung City. In addition to the ROC garrison, a shrine to Kuanyin is also under construction, and a solar power system was put into operation at the end of last year, Taiwan’s Chinese Petroleum Corporation has expressed interest in exploring for oil and gas in the vicinity, and Taiwan’s military has said it will offer protection to CPC crews and vessels in the area.

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