Taiwan reiterates sovereignty over Taiping Island

Taipei-The Republic of China (Taiwan) government on Friday reiterated its sovereignty over Taiping Island in the South China Sea, after Vietnam voiced protest over live-fire drills conducted by Taiwan on the island.

"Taiping Island is part of our country's territory," Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. "We have the right to conduct routine drills on the island."

It said the ROC has rights to islands in the South China Sea and their surrounding waters based on international and maritime law.

The ROC government is willing to work with the relevant countries to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea, based on the principles of putting aside disputes, jointly developing resources, and negotiating on an equal footing, the ministry said.

Six countries -- Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei -- claim sovereignty over all or some of the islands in the South China Sea and their surrounding waters.

Taiwan controls Taiping Island, the largest of the Spratly Islands, has a Coast Guard unit based there and conducts regular drills on the island.

In Vietnam's latest protest, its foreign ministry on Thursday described such drills as an infringement on the country's sovereignty and said the government is firmly opposed to those activities.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel