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Taiwan reiterates sovereignty over South China Sea islands

2017/04/22 19:33:24

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Reacting to Philippine officials' visit to one of the Spratly Islands, Taiwan reiterated its sovereignty over the South China Sea islands on Saturday and urged all parties to refrain from action that could escalate tensions in the region.

The South China Sea islands are part of Republic of China (Taiwan) territory, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement after Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Philippine military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano reportedly visited Thitu Island on Friday to assert the Philippines' claims to the island.

It is undisputable that the ROC enjoys rights to these islands and their surrounding waters based on international and maritime law, the ministry said.

The ROC government has expressed serious concerns over the recent unilateral moves taken by "related countries" that heightened tensions in the region, and has urged the parties concerned to exercise self-restraint, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the ministry reiterated that disputes in the South China Sea should be dealt with a multilateral mechanism for negotiations, based on the principles of shelving differences and seeking joint development of resources.

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, the ministry said.

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 Elaine Hou)