Taiwan willing to participate in talks over South China Sea: MOFA

2018/08/03 22:23:11 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) Taiwan has the capacity and is willing to participate in multilateral negotiations in a joint effort to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday.

It also reaffirmed its territorial claims in the region.

"The South China Sea islands are part of the territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan)," MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told CNA.

The ministry's comments came in the wake of an agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a draft code of conduct (COC) that lays the foundation for negotiations over the disputed South China Sea.

The agreement was reached at the annual ministerial meeting between China and ASEAN member states in Singapore on Thursday.

Though Taiwan holds Taiping Island in the Spratly Island chain, it was shut out of the agreement because of its diplomatic isolation and China's suppression, but Taiwan feels it should have a say.

The ROC is a constructive member of the international community and has the will to deal with issues related to the South China Sea based on the "four principles" and "five actions" put forth by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in July 2016, Lee said.

According to MOFA, one of the four principles includes settling the dispute peacefully in accordance with international law and the law of the sea, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The "five actions" pertain to safeguarding the ROC's fishing rights and its rights to participate in multilateral negotiations, to promote scientific cooperation, to strengthen humanitarian response and to continue nurturing and encouraging research talent in the law of the sea.

(By Elaine Hou and Ko Lin)
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