South China Sea dispute

Taiwan calls for dialogue to solve disputes in peaceful manner

Taiwanese Navy officers standing guard as they board the Taiwanese Navy warship Kang Ding before it sets sail to Taiping Island in the South China Sea.
Taiwanese Navy officers standing guard as they board the Taiwanese Navy warship Kang Ding before it sets sail to Taiping Island in the South China Sea.PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI • Taiwan has called for dialogue on the South China Sea issue.

Deputy Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chiu Chui- cheng said the government will aggressively engage in dialogue with all parties concerned, including China, to solve the disputes over territorial claims in a peaceful way.

The Taiwanese government has advocated that all concerned parties should shelve their differences and join hands to protect and exploit natural resources in the area - as long as the sovereignty issue is not involved, reported Central News Agency on Thursday.

For instance, the parties involved could cooperate under a multilateral mechanism in such areas as maritime crime fighting.

China, Taiwan and four Asean countries - the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei - have overlapping claims over part or all of the resource-rich South China Sea.

The Taiwanese government has advocated that all concerned parties should shelve their differences and join hands to protect and exploit natural resources in the area - as long as the sovereignty issue is not involved.

The MAC on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of cross-strait cooperation on the South China Sea sovereignty issue after the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague ruled the day before that all "the high-tide features" in the South China Sea, including Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island, or Itu Aba, are rocks and not entitled to a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Taiwan and China say the ruling is non-binding on them.

China's Foreign Ministry and Taiwan Affairs Office have called for Taiwan "to join hands with China in safeguarding the sovereignty of the South China Sea islands and the rights in the surrounding waters".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan calls for dialogue to solve disputes in peaceful manner'. Print Edition | Subscribe