News / Asia

Taiwan Lawmakers Land on Disputed South China Sea Island

A boat of Taiwan's coast guard is seen off the Dongsha Island, on Wednesday July 23, 2008. Concrete pilings designed to prevent an invasion no longer dot this tiny Taiwanese islet's shoreline.A boat of Taiwan's coast guard is seen off the Dongsha Island, on Wednesday July 23, 2008. Concrete pilings designed to prevent an invasion no longer dot this tiny Taiwanese islet's shoreline.
x
A boat of Taiwan's coast guard is seen off the Dongsha Island, on Wednesday July 23, 2008. Concrete pilings designed to prevent an invasion no longer dot this tiny Taiwanese islet's shoreline.
A boat of Taiwan's coast guard is seen off the Dongsha Island, on Wednesday July 23, 2008. Concrete pilings designed to prevent an invasion no longer dot this tiny Taiwanese islet's shoreline.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A group of Taiwanese legislators landed on an islet in the hotly disputed South China Sea to inspect the level of coast guard protection for its claims in the Spratly archipelago.  Because of its unique political status, Taiwan, normally keeps quiet about its claims to the resource-rich ocean.

A transport aircraft carrying about 30 people led by a group of lawmakers reached Taiping Island early Tuesday.  

Taiwan’s coast guard, which protects the tiny coral island, matched the legislative visit with a series of live-fire exercises using more than 140 grenades, mortars and machine guns.  Group leader and legislator Lin Yu-fang led a group to the same islet in April and found defenses to be inadequate.

Lin told a news conference Taiwan can now defend the small islet.

He says that after the April visit he did not expect the level of defense for Taiping Island could be strengthened so fast.  But based on his trip Tuesday, the lawmaker says, the coast guard looks ready to defend Taiwan’s southernmost piece of land.

On Saturday, Taiwan’s Interior Ministry said the top governmental security adviser had just visited Taiping Island.  The government said later that day Taiwan wanted to be a peacemaker by sharing its experience in managing the islet that supports a hospital and an airstrip.

Taiwan adds that it is also willing to offer humanitarian aid and advice on global warming in the South China Sea.  Taiping belongs to the Spratly Chain and is one of about 500 islets in the disputed ocean area.

The ocean area stretching from Taiwan to Singapore is also claimed, all or in part, by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.  The expanse of 3.5-million square kilometers is believed to be rich in undersea oil or natural gas, and most claimants have launched explorations.

Competing claims have sparked naval clashes in other parts of the ocean, including deadly ones in 1974 and 1988, but few involving Taiwan.  The South China Sea dispute has escalated this year with a long standoff between the Philippines and an increasingly aggressive China.

The United States has further irritated China, which is hungry for fish and oil, by asking that it cooperate more with the smaller claimants.

Taiwan cannot assert itself like other governments in the region.  China claims not only the sea, but also Taiwan.  Beijing bars its numerous diplomatic allies in Asia from discussing political matters with officials in Taipei.

Taiwan was unable to join when China met rival claimants earlier this year to discuss a South China Sea code of conduct, talks that ultimately collapsed.  

On a visit to Asia this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again urged China and Southeast Asian nations to work out the code of conduct.

Vietnam has protested in the past over Taiwan’s visits to the South China Sea.  But responses from rival claimants this week have been muted.  Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Steve Hsia does not expect a major outcry.

He says that Taiwan’s activities on Taiping Island are legal.  Because those moves are backed by law, he says, the Foreign Ministry does believe they will cause no regional anxiety among neighboring countries.

Political analysts in Taipei say foreign governments know they need not worry.  They call the South China Sea visits a response to pressure at home for stronger foreign policy, especially as China grows more powerful.  President Ma’s government has reduced tensions with China since taking office in 2008, but China has never renounced the use of force to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
September 05, 2012 5:43 AM
Taiwai is a part of China.

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
September 04, 2012 5:10 PM
as a Chinese I fully support Taiwan to be more assert in Diaoyu island and South China sea disputes. Taiwan has the responsibility to show the world that Diaoyu island and South China sea belong to all Chinese! So no one can blame on CCP.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs