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Taiwan to defend sovereignty, rights over Taiping Island: Ma (update)

2015/07/07 12:01:18

Taipei, July 7 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Tuesday that the Republic of China government will "staunchly defend" its sovereignty over Taiping Island in the South China Sea and every right held by the country under international law.

Citing international documents such as the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, Ma said that the ROC regained sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea after the end of the World War II in 1945.

Since then, the ROC government has built infrastructure on islands in the region, including Taiping Island, Ma said while speaking at an international conference marking the ROC's victory in its war of resistance against Japanese invasion during World War II.

Taiping is the biggest Taiwan-controlled island in the contested South China Sea.

After decades of development, the island has an airstrip, a hospital, and communications and solar energy systems, among other infrastructure, Ma said.

"In the future, the ROC government will continue development on Taiping with the aim of peace, to make it a hub for humanitarian assistance, environmental protection and scientific research in the Spratly Islands," Ma said to an audience of hundreds of participants, including local and foreign scholars.

Ma also stressed that Taiping complies with the definition of an island by international law.

Any attempt by other countries to deny the truth of Taiping as an island will not undermine the status of Taiping as an island, he said.

"The ROC government will staunchly defend its sovereignty over Taiping and every right held by the country under international law," he added.

At Tuesday's event, Ma also took the opportunity to address his stance on Japan, describing himself as Japan-friendly and rejecting the "pro-Japan" or "anti-Japan" labels political pundits have given him.

The three-day International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of China's Victory in the War against Japan, which kicked off Tuesday, has brought together local scholars and experts from Japan, Canada, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to Academia Historica, which is organizing the event.

(By Elaine Hou)

[President Ma Ying-jeou's full speech, in Chinese only]