ROC marks 70th anniversary of recovery of South China Sea Islands

  13 Dec 2016

President Tsai Ing-wen reiterated ROC sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and all rights over their relevant waters at the opening of a special exhibition Dec. 9, emphasizing recent government measures with regard to issues in the South China Sea. [restrict]

“I once again reiterate that the government will staunchly safeguard our country’s territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea, and insists upon all legal rights over the relevant waters in accordance with international law and the law of the sea,” President Tsai said at the exhibition, jointly organized by the Ministry of the Interior and Academia Historica, Sustainable Governance and Enduring Peace: An Exhibition Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Recovery of the South China Sea Islands.

The president pointed out recent government measures, including stepping up protection of Taiwan fishermen in the Dongsha (Pratas) and Nansha (Spratly) Islands, and boosting law enforcement with regard to fishing boats from other countries operating illegally. Through various mechanisms, the government has also expressed the ROC position to the international community, calling on all parties concerned to set aside differences and promote joint development.

Multilateral scientific cooperation based on Taiping Island has also been initiated, while the Coast Guard Administration continues to conduct humanitarian rescue in the relevant waters of Taiping Island and Dongsha Island, and staged a cross-agency humanitarian assistance exercise Nov. 29 demonstrating how Taiping Island serves as a base for humanitarian assistance and supply. The government is also cultivating more experts on the law of the sea.

President Tsai expressed her appreciation to all those who have been stationed on Taiping Island, and held a videoconference with Commander Wang Mao-lin on the island to thank personnel currently stationed there. For the full text of President Tsai’s remarks, please see the website of the Office of the President.

Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong said there have been many changes since the recovery of Taiping Island in 1946, including passage of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and challenges arising from climate change, rising sea levels, and atmospheric circulation testing the government’s wisdom in the administration of the island. The exhibition shows how government agencies have implemented the president’s South China Sea policy through measures on conservation, humanitarian aid and rescue, scientific research, and climate change, Yeh added.

The chronological presentation of the exhibition’s three themes—“Historical Developments,” “Key to the Southern Territories,” and “Sustainable Peace”—displays the government’s important policy decisions and history of governance in recovering the South China Sea Islands. Also featured are the natural and cultural aspects of Taiping Island, as well as the achievements made under the peaceful administration of the island.

The ROCS Taiping and ROCS Chungyeh arrived at Taiping Island 70 years ago on December 12, an important historic moment in completing the recovery of the South China Sea Islands. For more news on the exhibition, please see the Ministry of the Interior press releases of Dec. 1 and Dec. 9. [/restrict]