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Taiwan watching latest incident in South China Sea: defense minister

Taiwan watching latest incident in South China Sea: defense minister

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) Taiwan is well aware of the recent incident in which a U.S. Navy warship sailed close by a reef claimed by China in contested waters in the South China Sea, Defense Minister Kao Kuang-chi (???) said Wednesday. His ministry knew about the matter in advance, and "not from newspapers," Kao said while answering lawmakers' questions at the Legislative Yuan about the high-profile patrol a day earlier by the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of several reefs claimed by Beijing, including Subi Reef, in the Spratly Islands. The lawmakers had expressed concern about whether the U.S. had informed Taiwan of the patrol before it was carried out. Asked if the incident would affect the Navy's scheduled patrols in the South China Sea, Kao said that such patrol plans will be implemented as scheduled. "There are aircraft sent to the South China Sea each month, each season or on other occasions to conduct resupply missions," he noted. "If the conditions in the South China Sea change, the military has plans to deal with such contingencies," Kao said. Asked about a plan the Ministry of National Defense revealed Tuesday to dispatch air and sea forces to the waters in the South China Sea should a conflict break out, Kao declined to give details, saying it is a military plan that cannot be disclosed. Before attending a hearing at the Legislative Yuan, the minister repeated to the press the government's principles of not taking any unilateral action that might escalate tensions and trigger conflict when dealing with matters regarding the disputed areas in the South China Sea. The government of the Republic of China on Taiwan claims that "whether from the perspective of history, geography, or international law, the Nansha (Spratly) Islands, Shisha (Paracel) Islands, Chungsha Islands (Macclesfield Bank), and Tungsha (Pratas) Islands, as well as their surrounding waters, are an inherent part of Republic of China territory." "The ROC enjoys all rights over them in accordance with international law. This is indisputable," the government said. Since President Ma Ying-jeou assumed office in 2008, he has proposed handling regional territorial disputes through peaceful means. Under his South China Sea peace initiative, Ma said that the ROC, upholding the basic principles of "safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, pursuing peace and reciprocity, and promoting joint development," is willing to exploit resources in the South China Sea in cooperation with the other parties concerned. The territorial dispute in the South China Sea involves China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam, all of which lay claim, in whole or in part, to the region. (By Lu Hsin-huei and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-28 11:25 GMT+08:00