Taiwan: No tie-up with China in disputed sea

MANILA, Philippines – A top Taiwanese official has ruled out cooperation with mainland China in the South China Sea, with Taiwan having recently reasserted its claim over the Scarborough Shoal and other disputed areas.

It's clear Taiwan owns the island groups in the South China Sea, according to Taiwan's Vice Mainland Affairs Minister Liu Te-shun in an interview published in the country's national news agency.

Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China, considers the mainland or the People's Republic of China (PRC) as illegitimate. PRC, on the other hand, calls Taiwan a renegade government.

“The Republic of China does not need to take sides with any party because the islands are part of our inherent territory," Liu said Thursday, May 3.

Explaining this stance, Liu said Taiwan will not cooperate with China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam in areas that any of them claims entirely or in part. “Instead, the government supports joint explorations on the principle of peace and mutual benefits,” Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) quoted Liu as saying.

The CNA did not specify further.

Taiwan has recently reasserted its claim over Scarborough Shoal, or what it calls Huangyan Island like China, amid the standoff in the area that is now in its 4th week.  

In a position paper on the issue, Taiwan denounced the Philippines' moves in Scarborough Shoal as "illegal." It did not do the same, however, with mainland China. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.