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Taiwan foreign ministry asserts sovereignty over Taiping Island

MOFA responds to Philippines protest of military drills near Taiping Island

Taiping Island. 

Taiping Island.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday (June 29) affirmed that Taiping Island belongs to Taiwan.

Responding to the Philippine foreign ministry’s protest of Taiwan's ongoing live-fire military drills around Taiping Island, MOFA Deputy Spokesperson Tsui Ching-lin (崔靜麟) said that Taiwan has the right to conduct routine drills on Taiping Island and surrounding waters, CNA reported. In order to ensure the safety of fishing boats operating in adjacent waters, Taiwan will notify relevant regional countries in advance before each exercise, he said.

Tsui reiterated the "Four Principles" and "Five Actions" proposed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in 2016. Taiwan upholds the basic principle of "putting aside disputes and pursuing joint development" and is willing to participate in the relevant consultation mechanisms in the South China Sea on the basis of equal consultation, he said.

The spokesperson added that Taiwan is willing to work with the relevant countries to maintain and promote peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday (June 28) that the nation strongly opposes Taiwan's live-fire drills near Taiping Island. It asserted the island is a part of the Kalayaan Island Group, which is a sovereign part of the Philippines, per CNA.

Such illegal activities will raise tensions and complicate the situation in the South China Sea, it added. In its statement, the Philippine Foreign Ministry referred to Taiwan as "Taiwan (China).”