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MOFA: The US understands our position in South China Sea
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-13 05:05 PM
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) responded to calls from the United States for all nations with interests in the South China Sea to refrain from building up their infrastructures and other destabilizing activities that could lead to confrontation and conflict.

The US statements included a proposal released by the State Department on Friday saying that Asian nations should not build new outposts or expand existing ones in the South China Sea, while the Senate passed a resolution that urges all nations in the region to refrain from “destabilizing activities.” Both the State Department and the Senate emphasize that the US is committed to freedom of navigation throughout the Asia-Pacific and will work to help lower the risk of conflicts in the face of mounting tension over the resource-rich waters surrounding its many islets and atolls.

Speaking at a Washington think tank, senior State Department officer Michael Fuchs voiced concern over the “increasingly tenuous situation” in the South China Sea as an assertive China and its smaller neighbors vie for control of areas boasting rich fisheries and untapped reserves of gas and oil.

Fuchs said no one claimant is solely responsible for tensions that have arisen in the area but criticized a pattern of “provocative” behavior by China. He suggested that all nations initiate a voluntary freeze on activities that could serve to escalate tensions, acting in accordance with a declaration signed by China and the Southeast Asian bloc in 2002 that calls for self-restraint in the South China Sea. The US is expected to table its proposal at a meeting of Asian foreign ministers set for Myanmar in August.

A spokesperson for MOFA said Saturday that the ROC is in agreement with the US on its basic stance on the situation in the South China Sea. At the same time, MOFA reiterated that it maintains its position on its sovereignty in the South China Sea region and it will continue to exchange views with the US State Department and other government agencies on the status of certain areas in the region.

MOFA said Saturday that history, geography and international law all show that the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands and the Dongsha Islands and their surrounding waters are all the inherent territory of the Republic of China and sovereignty in these areas belongs to the Republic of China.

MOFA also said that the ROC government will uphold the basic principle of sovereignty in my resolving disputes and working for peace, reciprocity and common development in the region. The ROC government calls on all relevant parties surrounding the South China Sea to exercise self-restraint and engage in consultation and dialogue to bring about peaceful settlement of disputes and jointly promote peace, stability and development throughout the South China Sea.

KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang, who has long been an active force in observing and developing Taiwan’s participation in foreign affairs, said that the US proposal are not directly aimed at Taiwan. "We are not a troublemaker," said Lin, noting that the US has never condemned Taiwan in offering its opinions and suggestions regarding issues in the South China Sea.

Lin Yu-fang said that some countries have gone too far in extending claims in the South China Sea area. For example, they go to reefs that are completely submerged at high tide and pile up cement and then construct bunkers that can be used for defensive purposes. That is a tactic that Taiwan has never used in maintaining its claims. Lin noted that construction currently under way on a runway and port on Taiping Island is being done only because already existing facilities are in disrepair and decaying. He said that Taiwan is taking steps to strengthen infrastructure already in place on the island, and the US side is fully aware of Taiwan’s aims and intents and understands our position.

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