Taiwan rejects 'rocks' ruling

A session during the jurisdictional hearing for the case that the Philippines brought against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last July. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called the case "a political farce" and said it "ha
A session during the jurisdictional hearing for the case that the Philippines brought against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last July. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called the case "a political farce" and said it "has put the dispute into dangerous territory of worsening tensions and confrontation".PHOTO: PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION

Taiwan has rejected the Arbitral Tribunal's ruling, saying its conclusion that Taiping Island and other features in the Spratlys are rocks is not "legally binding".

President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to comment on the ruling this morning during a sendoff for the crew of a frigate leaving for Taiping Island.

The 46ha outcrop, about 2,000km south of Taipei, is the biggest feature in the Spratlys and is home to some 200 Taiwanese coast guard personnel and researchers. Taiping Island is also known as Itu Aba in the Philippines.

The Foreign Ministry said last night that the ruling is "completely unacceptable" and has "no legally binding force". Taiwan "will take resolute action to safeguard" its territory and maritime rights, it added.

The previous government had launched a high-profile drive to present Taiping Island as an "island", which is entitled to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

Urging the government not to accept the ruling yesterday, Mr Huang Hung-yen, deputy director-general of the Fisheries Agency, said the waters surrounding Taiping Island are "an important fishing ground" for Taiwanese fishermen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan rejects 'rocks' ruling'. Print Edition | Subscribe