MND ups security in Diaoyutais, South China Sea
The ROC Ministry of National Defense said May 2 that it has taken steps to bolster security in and around the Diaoyutai and South China Sea island groups.
These measures include increasing the frequency and range of air and coastal patrols, conducting regular visits by supply aircraft and warships, and holding military drills on islands with permanent bases such as Taiping Island in the Nansha (Spratly) Islands.
The MND remarks were contained in a joint Coast Guard Administration and Ministry of Foreign Affairs report presented to the ROC Legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee the same day.
In the document, MND Minister Kao Hua-chu said the ministry has been forced to act given long-standing economic, fishing and sovereignty disputes in the Diaoyutai Islands and South China Sea.
Kao was referring to remarks made by Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, April 16 that Tokyo will purchase the Diaoyutai Islands, and incursions of armed Vietnamese patrol boats in restricted waters near Taiping Island of the Nansha Islands in March.
The minister said the ROC maintains a conciliatory position in all disputes and will seek diplomatic mediation and assistance from international organizations to defend the country’s sovereignty.
Echoing Kao’s comments, the MOFA called on all parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid unilateral measures that might cause instability in the South China Sea region.
“The ROC is willing to collaborate with other countries in exploring the region’s resources based on the principles of safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes and maintaining peace and reciprocity.”
In addition to the ROC, which exercises full sovereignty over the Dongsha (Pratas), Nansha, Xisha (Paracel) and Zhongsha (Macclesfield) islands, the island groups are either claimed entirely or in part by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and mainland China.
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