The recently announced Philippine plan to refurbish an airstrip on Zhongye (Pagasa) Island and develop some of the Nansha (Spratly) Islands as tourist destinations is an illegal move violating ROC sovereignty, the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Jan. 15.
“Zhongye Island is part of the Nansha chain, and whether from the viewpoint of history, geography or international law, the Nansha, Xisha (Paracel), Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank) and Dongsha (Pratas) archipelagos and their adjacent waters in the South China Sea are all integral parts of ROC territory,” the MOFA said.
“The ROC exercises complete sovereignty over these territories and acts by any other nation to claim control over, occupy or develop them, for whatever reason, will not be recognized by the ROC government.”
The government urges neighboring countries to abide by the letter and spirit of international law, show self-restraint and avoid taking any unilateral steps that could undermine peace and stability, the ministry said.
“The ROC is willing to take part in dialogue for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea,” the MOFA added.
The ministry reaffirmed the ROC government’s desire to cooperate with other countries to develop resources in the region, based on the principles of ROC sovereignty over the islands, the shelving of disagreements, peace and reciprocity, and joint development.