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Taiwan reiterates sovereignty over Spratly Islands

ROC Central News Agency

2011/05/10 11:27:46

By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Lilian Wu

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Monday Taiwan's sovereignty over various archipelagoes in the South China Sea and called for the peaceful settlement of regional disputes over the islands in question.

The ministry said that from the perspective of history, geography and international law, the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands as well as their surrounding waters are undisputable territory of the Republic of China, as Taiwan is formally known.

The ministry's assertion of sovereignty over the Spratlys and Paracels followed recent Vietnamese claims to the islands. Before that, the Philippines protested against China's claims of sovereignty over the Spratly archipelago and its neighboring waters.

Taiwan believes nations neighboring island shelfs in the South China Sea should act in line with the principle and spirit of international law and avoid unilateral measures so as not to affect regional stability in the region, the ministry said.

The ROC government advocates developing the resources of the area jointly with other countries based on the principles of shelving disputes and promoting peace and reciprocity, the ministry said.

The Spratlys are a group of more than 750 reefs, islets, and atolls with a land area of less than four square kilometers. They are spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers of sea.

The Paracel Islands consist of over 30 islets, sand banks or reefs, and are located in the South China Sea.

Reportedly rich in crude oil and other natural resources, the islands are claimed either entirely or in part by Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

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