Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The Republic of China (Taiwan) government has reaffirmed its sovereignty over the South China Sea's islands and vowed to protest any move threatening that sovereignty in response to a plan by the Philippines to occupy uninhabited islands in the region.
The South China Sea islands are part of the ROC's territory, and it is indisputable that the ROC enjoys rights to these islands and their surrounding waters based on international and maritime law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said at a regular news briefing.
She urged all parties to refrain from any unilateral action that would escalate tensions in the region and said the ROC would protest and call for an immediate end to any move that could undermine ROC sovereignty over the South China Sea islands.
Wang was responding to reports that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Philippine troops to occupy uninhabited islands and shoals his country claims in the disputed South China Sea to assert its claims over the islands.
He also plans to visit Thitu Island in the Spratlys on Philippine Independence Day on June 12, the reports said.
Reaffirming Taiwan's stance on South China Sea disputes, Wang called on all parties concerned to engage in a multilateral negotiation mechanism, based on a principle of shelving disputes and seeking joint development of resources.
As a member in the South China Sea, Taiwan should be included in the multilateral mechanism that seeks to address disputes in the region, Wang said.
Taiwan is also willing to engage in dialogue with other countries on an equal footing, to jointly seek to promote peace and stability and maintain freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, she added.
Six countries -- Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- claim all or part of the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in resources.
(By Scarlett Chai and Elaine Hou)