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ROC sovereignty on Thitu Island unquestionable: MOFA

ROC sovereignty on Thitu Island unquestionable: MOFA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) voiced its protest Wednesday after the Philippine military chief of staff General Gregorio Catapang flew to Thitu Island in the South China Sea announcing the plan to turn it into a tourist site.

The island’s disputed sovereignty, claimed by the Republic of China, is currently the largest of nine outcrops garrisoned by Filipino forces in the Spratly archipelago.

According to Filipino officials, Catapang bid his last farewell to the outlaying island before retiring from the military. His presence in Thitu was seen as a propaganda move to assert Philippine sovereignty over the island.

MOFA spokesperson Anna Kao said the country “did not recognize the effectiveness of Catapang’s code of conduct because the R.O.C. has sovereignty over the South China Sea in accordance to international law.”

The government reiterated Taiwan’s position over the Thitu Island and has asked the Philippines to respect the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the United Nations (U.N.) Charter to prevent further escalation of tension in the area, Kao said.

MOFA also stressed that the R.O.C. government upholds the basic principles of “safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, promoting peace and reciprocity, and encouraging joint exploration” to resolve South China Sea disputes, adding that it calls on all neighboring countries to respect the principles and spirit of international law, exercise self-restraint, maintain freedom of navigation, and refrain from adopting unilateral measures that threaten the peace and stability of the region.

“Taiwan urges countries to engage in dialogue rather than confrontation, so that a peaceful resolution can be reached,” she said.

Updated : 2021-09-21 04:20 GMT+08:00