Taipei, May 3 (CNA) The island groups in the South China Sea are inherent parts of the territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and there will be no cooperation between Taiwan and China in the area, Vice Mainland Affairs Minister Liu Te-shun said Thursday.
The Taiwan government's stance on the issue is very clear, Liu stated, saying "the Republic of China does not need to take sides with any party because the islands are part of our inherent territory."
Liu's comments came amid heightened tensions in the region due to an ongoing standoff between China and the Philippines that erupted April 10 over the Scarborough Shoal, which lies off the coast of the Philippines.
Asked by the media what action the government will take if Taiwan's sovereignty is infringed on, Liu said the nation needs to strengthen its defenses in the region that is thought to be rich in oil deposits and marine biodiversity.
As for exploration of resources in the area that is claimed either entirely or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, Liu said Taiwan will not cooperate with any one particular country. Instead, the government supports joint explorations on the principle of peace and mutual benefits, he said.
In related news, three lawmakers of the ruling Kuomintang visited Taiwan's Taiping Island in the region April 30 to reaffirm the country's sovereignty. They urged the government to reinforce its defense capabilities on the island.
(By Chen Hung-chin and Kendra Lin)