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Law society urges President Ma to visit Taiping Island

Law society urges President Ma to visit Taiping Island

Taiwan's Chinese Society of International Law on Sunday urged President Ma Ying-jeou to visit Taiping Island while still in office to reinforce Taiwan's sovereignty claim over the island.

The society also said that it would create a committee to assist the government in formulating grounds in international law regarding the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The society's decision came after a case filed against China by the Philippines at an international arbitration panel to clarify the nature of disputed features in the South China Sea. In that case, the Philippines claimed that Taiping Island, a naturally formed island that Taiwan has governed for 69 years in the disputed region, is only a rock.

The society said President Ma should visit Taiping Island while still in office to reinforce Taiwan's sovereignty claim over the island, boost the morale of the Coast Guard personnel stationed there, and to show the international community Taiwan's willingness to safeguard the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by every country, as well as its resolution to solve the disputes over the contested waters in a peaceful way.

The society said in a statement, which was released at the end of its general assembly, that Taiping Island has its own natural sources of freshwater, which nourishes the soil and provides an ideal environment for a great variety of fruit and vegetables to grow. In addition, there is a small-sized hospital, post office, and Bodhisattva temple on the island where the personnel have been raising livestock and keeping guard dogs.

This proves that Taiping Island meets the definition of an island, under Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which defines an island as a naturally-formed land mass surrounded by water and capable of sustaining human habitation or economic life, according to the society.

The South China Sea, reportedly rich in crude oil reserves, is also claimed all or in part by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. President Ma in early May proposed the South China Sea Peace Initiative, calling on the parties concerned to put aside their differences and jointly develop the resources in the area. (By Wen Gui-hsiang and Lee Mei-yu)


Updated : 2021-09-26 00:43 GMT+08:00