TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday (July 14) welcomed Washington’s rejection of Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, urging the inclusion of Taiwan into a multilateral dispute settlement mechanism over the contested waters.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Monday (July 13) that the U.S. considers China’s maritime claims outside its waters to be illegitimate. He stated that Beijing’s “Nine-Dashed Line” claim in the South China Sea has no legal basis and that the U.S. is aligning with the 2016 decision by an Arbitral Tribunal under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, which sided with the Philippines against China’s assertions in relevant waters.
Stressing that China will no longer be allowed to treat the South China Sea as its “maritime empire,” Pompeo made clear that Washington supports its Southeast Asian allies in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources and stands with the international community in defense of freedom of seas, according to the statement.
At a news briefing, MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) reiterated Taiwan’s indisputable island and maritime claims in the sea. Citing the four principles set forth by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in 2016 on the issue, Ou called for Taiwan’s participation in a multilateral dispute settlement system and made a case for putting aside differences in favor of cooperation to jointly develop resources in the region.
The territorial disputes in the South China Sea involve claimant states in the region, including Taiwan, China, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. To assert its claim to the waters, China has resorted to military buildup on coral atolls, while the U.S. has repeatedly deployed aircraft and warships to the waterway in the promotion of freedom of navigation and overflight, wrote AP.