Taiwanese warship sets sail for South China Sea after verdict


The picture taken and released on
July 13, 2016 by ’s Ministry shows President Tsai Ing-wen
meeting sailors on the deck of a Taiwanese warship before the vessel
heads for Taiwan-controlled Taiping island in the Spratly island chain,
at the base at Tsoying in the southern city of Kaohsiung. © AFP

A Taiwanese warship has set
sail for the South Sea “to defend Taiwan’s maritime territory,” a
day after an international tribunal ruled against China’s claims to
islands and undermined Taipei’s claims to the islands there.

Tuesday, a tribunal in The Hague ruled China has no historic rights in
the waterway and sided with the Philippines that had filed the
It also ruled that Taiwan-controlled Taiping, the
largest island in the Spratlys chain, was legally a “rock” that did not
give it an exclusive economic zone, undermining Taiwanese claims to
waters surrounding the island.
On Wednesday, Taiwanese President
Tsai Ing-wen rallied troops on the deck of a frigate, saying the
Taiwanese are determined to “defend their country’s rights,” before the
warship headed for Taiwan-administered Taiping island in the Spratly
island chain from the southern city of Kaohsiung.
government rejected the ruling as “completely unacceptable,” saying it
had no legally binding force since the arbitral tribunal did not
formally invite Taipei to participate in its proceedings or solicit its
“The South China Sea ruling, especially the categorization
of Taiping island, has severely jeopardized our country’s rights in the
South China Sea islands and their relevant waters,” Tsai told soldiers
on the deck of ship in footage broadcast by channels.
patrol mission will show Taiwanese people’s determination to defend
their country’s rights,” she said, before disembarking from the warship
ahead of its departure.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry vowed to
“firmly defend Taiwan’s territory and sovereignty” and said there would
be no change to Taiwan’s claims in the strategic seas because of the

picture taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members of China’s South Sea
Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel
Islands in the South China Sea. © AFPThe
ministry said it would continue to send aircraft and ships for patrol
missions to the region and remain “highly vigilant” to protect national
The development came after Chinese Ambassador to the US
Cui Tiankai warned of “conflicts and confrontation” in the South China
Sea following the verdict that Beijing’s claims to most of the
strategically vital waterway had no legal basis.
“It will
certainly undermine or weaken the motivation of states to engage in
negotiations and consultations for solving their dispute. It will
certainly intensify conflicts and even confrontation,” he said.
on Wednesday dismissed as “baseless” the Philippines’ claims of
sovereignty in the South China Sea, saying the islands are “China’s
inherent territory”.
“The Philippines’ territorial claim over part
of Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands) is groundless from the
perspectives of either history or international law,” Beijing said in a
white paper.
In the new policy paper, China asserted its
sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters and
opposed other countries’ “illegal claims and occupation.”
document criticized Manila for violating an agreement with Beijing to
settle the disputes through bilateral negotiation, saying Manila
“distorted facts and concocted a pack of lies” to push forward the
arbitration proceedings.

Chinese police officers block the road leading to the Philippines embassy in Beijing on July 12, 2016. © AFP“The
Arbitral Tribunal established at the Philippines’ unilateral request
has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and awards rendered by it
are null and void and have no binding force,” said the document.
territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South
China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards.”
firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and
interests, China adheres to the position of settling disputes through
negotiation and consultation and managing differences through rules and
mechanisms, it added.
China is committed to maintaining peace and
stability in the South China Sea with other countries in the region and
upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China
Sea enjoyed by other countries under international law, the white paper
In the white paper, Beijing urged countries outside this
region to respect the efforts in this regard by countries in the region
and to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in
the South China Sea.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin
said his country has the right to set up an air defense zone in the
South China Sea, but this will depend on the level of threats faced.
He, however, said China remained committed to negotiations with the Philippines.
claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, which is
also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the
Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil
and gas.
The dispute has at times drawn in trans-regional countries, particularly the US.
Beijing accuses Washington of meddling in regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.
US, in turn, accuses China of carrying out what it calls a land
reclamation program in the South China Sea by building artificial
islands in the disputed areas.

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