Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen determined to safeguard Taiwan's interests in wake of South China Sea ruling

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An international court ruling on the South China Sea dispute has angered not only China but also Taiwan, who's preparing to send a warship into the waters.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaking to reporters in Taipei. PHOTO: EPA

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday (July 13) the ruling by an international arbitral tribunal on China's territorial claims in the South China Sea has "severely damaged" Taiwan's rights in the waterway.

Ms Tsai, speaking during an inspection tour of Taiwan navy's base in the southern city of Kaohsiung, added that "the Taiwan people are determined to safeguard our country's interest", the president's office said in a press release.

The Philippines had brought a case against China's claim to some 90 per cent of the South China Sea to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague.

Although Taiwan is not a party to the case, its claims in the disputed waters are similar to those of China, and Taipei-controlled Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, in the Spratly islands in the sea was brought up during the arbitration hearings.

The tribunal ruled on Tuesday that Itu Aba and other features in the Spratly archipelago are "rocks" and therefore not entitled to a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone under international law.

Taiwan has rejected the tribunal's ruling, saying its conclusion are not "legally binding".

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