Taipei--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday reiterated that islands in the South China Sea are part of Republic of China (Taiwan) territory and that the country should not be excluded from talks on a dispute resolution mechanism in the region.
It is beyond doubt that the ROC enjoys rights to these islands and their surrounding waters based on international and maritime law, the ministry said in a statement, a day after foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea.
Taiwan was not invited to the ASEAN ministerial meeting in Manila where the framework was developed, and it fears being left out of any negotiations on the issue because of China's relentless effort to suppress it internationally.
The ministry said the ROC is a responsible participant in the international community that plays an indispensable role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and should not be excluded from multi-party talks on a dispute resolution mechanism in the region.
The ROC is willing to engage in dialogue with the related countries on an equal footing, to jointly seek to promote peace and stability and develop resources in the South China Sea, the ministry added.
Six countries -- Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- claim all or part of the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in resources.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council