Taiping, an island not rock, says Taiwan; Philippines, Vietnam hail sea ruling

(From agencies)

While the Philippines and Vietnam welcomed the international tribunal’s ruling on South China Sea, Taiwan rejected the court’s view that defined a Taiwan-controlled island in the waters as a “rock.”

Taiping island

The aerial view of Taiping Island

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in Manila the “milestone decision” by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague was an important contribution to efforts in addressing disputes in the sea.

He said: “The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts of pursuing the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with the view of promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region.”

Vietnam too welcomed the ruling saying Hanoi strongly supports the settlement of such disputes through diplomatic and legal processes.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh also reaffirmed Vietnam’s sovereignty in the disputed Paracel and Spratly island chains.

Earlier in the day, Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracels on Saturday. The five fishermen were rescued by a trawler some seven hours later.

The Taiwanese government rejected the international tribunal’s view that the Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island — also known as Itu Aba — in the waters is a “rock.”

Taiwan, which was never invited to the hearing  nor consulted in the arbitration process, found the ruling unacceptable and not legally binding on it.

“We will vigorously defend our territory and sovereignty and will not allow our national interest to be undermined,” the government statement said.

Besides Taiping, Taiwan also controls Ban Than Reef in the Spratly chain, and Xisha Island in the Paracel chain.


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