TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After Vietnam voiced a protest against Taiwan conducting live-fire drills on Taiping Island, Taiwan's government reiterated its sovereignty over the island, one of many disputed areas in the South China Sea.
"Taiping Island is part of our country's territory and we have the right to conduct routine drills on the island." Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The statement made it clear that Taiping Island belongs to Taiwan and it has all the rights to islands in the South China Sea and their surrounding waters based on international and maritime law.
The ministry said the government is ready to work with neighboring countries to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea and doesn't mind jointly developing resources and negotiating on an equal footing.
Currently there are six countries that claim rights over all or some of the Islands in the South China Sea—Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.
Taiwan controls Taiping Island and also has a Coast Guard unit based there. It also regularly conducts security drills on the islands.
On Thursday, Vietnam’s foreign ministry said Taiwan’s latest drills on Taiping Island, which is also known as Itu Aba, are an infringement of the country's sovereignty and its government completely opposes it.