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Senior Taiwan officials visit Taiping Island to assert sovereignty

ROC Central News Agency

2012/08/31 22:32:04

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) A group of senior officials, including National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-chen, visited Taiping Island in the South China Sea Friday, according to the Presidential Office.

The visit by Hu -- President Ma Ying-jeou's top national security adviser -- and other senior officials is part of the government's efforts to assert the Republic of China's claim to the South China Sea amid growing territorial disputes among neighboring countries, the office said in a statement.

In addition to extending President Ma's concern for Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force officers stationed on Taiping Island, the group of officials also landed on the Chungchou Reef located 3.1 nautical miles east of Taiping Island to hoist an ROC national flag, the statement said.

It was the first time during Ma's presidency that an ROC flag had been raised on the outcrop and signified the government's determination to defend the country's sovereignty over the region.

Six countries -- Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- claim all or part of the South China Sea and its island chains.

Taiwan controls the Pratas Islands (known locally as the Dongsha Islands)-- the largest island group in the South China Sea-- and Taiping Island, the largest of the Spratly Islands.

Other officials who visited Taiping Island included Interior Minister Lee Hung-yuan and Coast Guard Administration chief Wang Chin-wang.

(By Huang Jui-hung and Sofia Wu)

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