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Taiwan reasserts sovereignty over South China Sea islands

2012/07/31 14:19:30

Taipei, July 31 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday reasserted Taiwan's sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, following news that Japan will help the Philippines boost its maritime security mechanisms.

Islands in the South China Sea are the "undisputed territory" of the Republic of China (Taiwan), James Chou, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said at a press conference.

Asked by reporters whether Taiwan was following the news that Japan will provide a dozen patrol boats to the Philippines to improve its maritime security, Chou said, "Taiwan has kept abreast of the situation."

Japan will deliver 12 "state-of-the-art" patrol vessels to the Philippines by 2014 to help the Southeast Asian country combat maritime piracy and enhance sea rescue measures, according to media reports.

Japan has been helping the Philippines upgrade its Coast Guard fleet since the 1990s. Tokyo also gives development aid to Manila on a long-term basis.

Asked whether Japan's assistance to the Philippines will bring about a change in the South China Sea's political equation, Chou said that "more observation is needed."

Taiwan, China and other countries in Southeast Asia claim all or part of the South China Sea, an area said to be rich in oil reserves.

(By Nancy Liu)