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Legislative deputy speaker urges President Tsai to visit Taiwan's Taiping Island

Johnny Chiang says trip would reaffirm Taiwan's sovereignty over island

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Taiping Island. (Reuters photo)

Taiping Island. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Legislative Deputy Speaker Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to visit Taiping Island to defend national sovereignty.

With the completion of dredging projects and pier renovations on the island and with the approaching Lunar New Year, a visit by Tsai would “have a positive impact on asserting sovereignty" Chiang said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Feb. 6).

Chiang pointed out the escalating tension over disputed territorial claims in the South China Sea involving the U.S., China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. There have also been reports of U.S. and Chinese naval vessels appearing within 12 nautical miles of Taiping Island, he said, adding that there have been domestic calls to redeploy the Marine Corps to the island.

It is best to avoid escalating regional tensions, but the government must take certain actions regarding territorial sovereignty, Chiang said.

Past presidents, including Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), have visited the island during their presidencies, Chiang said. They not only assured personnel stationed there but also asserted to the world Taiwan’s sovereignty over the island, he said.

Chiang said he looked forward to seeing Tsai visit Taiping Island and actively defend national sovereignty.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) and Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) also urged Tsai to travel to the island last month. Hsu said it would be an opportunity for the president to boost morale within the armed forces and assert Taiwan’s sovereignty over it.

Lai said Taiping Island is part of Taiwan’s territory and as the head of state, attending the event is deemed necessary. He expressed support for Tsai to fulfill the duties of a national leader in this regard.

Taiping Island is located in the South China Sea, 1,500 km from Kaohsiung. It is administered under Kaohsiung’s Cijin District.

The Coast Guard Administration personnel stationed there are responsible for its defense. In 2021, the CGA was reported to have 124 Kestrel anti-armor rockets on the island.