Government statement on fishing boats headed to Taiping

  • Date: 2016-07-24
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

A  group  of  Taiwanese  fishing  boats  heading  to  Taiping  Island  may  not  land  on  the  island  without  permission  from  the  Ministry  of  National  Defense,  according  to  pertinent  laws,  Executive  Yuan  Spokesperson  Tung  Chen-yuan  said  today.

Tung  made  the  remarks  after  the  fishing  boats,  led  by  the  head  of  a  Taiwan-based  association  for  cross-strait  fishermen  exchange,  set  sail  last  week  for  Taiping  to  assert  Taiwan’s  sovereignty  over  the  island.  Since  Taiping  is  a  restricted  military  area,  however,  there  are  regulations  in  place  to  protect  classified  information  and  prevent  obstruction  of  military  operations.

If  the  fishermen  require  emergency  shelter  or  supplies,  the  Coast  Guard  garrison  there  will  provide  necessary  assistance,  Tung  said.  The  government  hopes  that  the  fishermen  will  respect  the  laws  on  restricted  military  areas  and  cooperate  with  the  Coast  Guard  should  they  require  emergency  assistance.

Tung  said  the  government’s  position  on  the  South  China  Sea  sovereignty  issue  remains  firm:  that  the  South  China  Sea  islands  and  their  waters  belong  to  the  Republic  of  China  and  that  it  exercises  sovereignty  over  them.  The  ROC  is  entitled  to  all  rights  over  the  South  China  Sea  islands  and  their  waters  in  accordance  with  international  law  and  the  U.N.  Convention  on  the  Law  of  the  Sea.

The  ROC  will  continue  to  defend  its  sovereignty  and  protect  the  islands,  including  by  stationing  coastal  patrol  officers  and  troops  on  Taiping  Island  and  deploying  Coast  Guard  patrol  ships  to  protect  Taiwanese  fishing  boats  operating  in  the  South  China  Sea.  Any  attempts  to  harm  Taiwan’s  national  interests  will  not  be  tolerated,  Tung  said.

Previous  government  administrations  have  visited  Taiping  many  times  as  a  declaration  of  ROC  sovereignty,  and  the  Coast  Guard  garrison  manning  the  island  continues  to  affirm  that  claim.  The  international  community  is  well  aware  of  Taiwan’s  position  on  this  issue,  Tung  said.

As  for  Taiwanese  fishing  boats  operating  in  the  waters  of  Taiping  Island,  the  Coast  Guard  will  continue  to  protect  the  boats  by  increasing  the  frequency,  intensity  and  duration  of  patrol  assignments  in  the  area.