Taiwan president invites Philippines, tribunal officials to disputed isle

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has invited Philippine government representatives and international tribunal officials to a disputed South China Sea island for a visit.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has invited Philippine government representatives and international tribunal officials to a disputed South China Sea island for a visit.PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday (March 23) invited Philippine government representatives and members of an international arbitration tribunal to a disputed South China Sea island for a visit.

"I, as Republic of China president, formally invites the Philippines government to send a representative or lawyer to visit Taiping Island," Ma said, referring to Taiwan by its official name and to the island that Taiwan controls by its Taiwanese name.

The Philippines has challenged the legality of claims by China, that mirror those of Taiwan, to most of the South China Sea, presenting its case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in November.

Ma was speaking at a press briefing after international journalists were allowed to visit the island, also known as Itu Aba, for the first time on Wednesday.