Taiwanese angered over Hague ruling on Taiping Island

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/14 1:58:01

The Hague's arbitration ruling that degraded Taiping Island to a rock has angered people from Taiwan, who insist on calling the island self-sufficient for human activity.

Under the arbitration ruling handed down by The Hague on a case filed by the Philippines, none of the islands of the Nansha Islands, including Taiping Island, can be considered as islands under international law.

Similar to reactions on the Chinese mainland, the award sparked angry voices from the island, and Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen also criticized it as jeopardizing Taiwan's rights, Taipei-based Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

As the largest island of the Nansha Islands, Taiping Island covers 510 square meters. Since Taiping Island was degraded to a rock, some Chinese began to question the status of the Okinotori Islands of Japan, which is 9.44 square-meters large.

It's wrong to focus on the western side, said Huang Kwei-bo, an associate professor at the Department of Diplomacy of National Chengchi University in Taiwan. "Taiping Island has freshwater and one can raise chicken and other plants on the island. It can also be a fishing base. The award on Taiping Island obviously does not meet the facts," Huang was quoted as saying by Ta Kung Pao.

Xinhua News Agency said Taiping Island was returned to China in 1945 after Japan surrendered.

A weather station and a wireless radio station are located on the island.

According to Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao, a coastal patrol, medical staff and scientists live in Taiping Island, or about 120 people.

The Taiwan government website said Taiping Island is rich in natural resources and has a freshwater well. Natural vegetation includes coconuts, papaya and plantain.

Taiping Island, located some 1,600 kilometers away from Taiwan Island, is primarily responsible for offering materials and medical supplies at sea. It can also enhance emergency rescue efforts, the government website explained.

An airport and seaport were completed on Taiping Island in 2015. In the same year, a lighthouse was put into use on the island, which not only guides passing vessels but can provide solar energy for people on the island.

A delegation of former Taiwan senior officials visited Taiping Island on May 6, and former Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou also visited the island in January, Xinhua reported.

The delegation visited a wharf, a lighthouse, a photovoltaic facility, a post office, a hospital, a farm and a well, said Xinhua.

Speaking aboard a frigate which left for a patrol mission near the Nansha Islands on Wednesday, Tsai said it is time to be resolute to protect Taiwan's maritime interests, and that "the mission carries special significance after yesterday's developments [Hague award] on the South China Sea," CNA reported.

Posted in: Politics, Diplomacy

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