Premier Lin responds to South China Sea ruling

  • Date: 2016-07-14
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

At  the  Cabinet  meeting  today,  Premier  Lin  Chuan  addressed  the  July  12  international  tribunal  ruling  on  the  South  China  Sea  arbitration  case  that  was  initiated  by  the  Philippines  in  accordance  with the  U.N.  Convention  of  the  Law  of  the  Sea.  The  premier  pointed  out  three  flaws  with  the  decision,  from  the  arbitration  process  to  the  announcement  of  the  ruling:

1.  In  the  text  of  the  ruling,  the Republic  of  China is  referred  to  as  “Taiwan  Authority  of  China.”  This  inappropriate  designation  is  demeaning  to  the  status  of  the ROC  as  a  sovereign  state.

2.  Taiping  Island  was  not  originally  included  in  the  scope  of  arbitration,  but  the  tribunal  took  it  upon  itself  to  expand  its  authority,  declaring  ROC-governed  Taiping  Island  to  be  a  rock.  This  decision  severely  undermines  Taiwan’s  rights  in  the  South  China  Sea  islands  and  their  waters.

3.  During  the  arbitration  process,  the  tribunal  neither  consulted  with  nor  invited  Taiwan  to  participate  in  the  case.  The  ruling  is  therefore  completely  unacceptable  and  has  no  legally  binding  force  on  Taiwan.

Premier  Lin  further  issued  four  points  stating  Taiwan’s  position:
1.  The  ROC  is  entitled  to  all  rights  over  the  South  China  Sea  islands  and  their  waters  in  accordance  with  international  law  and  the  law  of  the  sea.  The  government  will  continue  to  defend  its  sovereignty  over  the  South  China  Sea  islands,  and  will  not  tolerate  any  attempts  to  harm  Taiwan’s  national  interests.

2.  The  parties  concerned  should  settle  the  South  China  Sea  dispute  peacefully  by  setting  aside  differences  and  promoting  joint  development.  Taiwan  is  willing,  through  negotiations  conducted  on  the  basis  of  equality,  to  work  with  all  parties  to  advance  peace  and  stability  in  the  South  China  Sea  and  to  protect  and  develop  the  area’s  resources.

3.  Taiwan  should  be  included  in  multilateral  dispute-resolution  discussions  and  must  not  be  absent  from  any  peaceful  multilateral  mechanisms  in  the  future.  Without  Taiwan’s  participation,  such  a  mechanism  cannot  truly  be  effective  in  settling  the  area’s  disputes.

4.  Taiwan  is  eager  to  open  multilateral  dialogues  with  other  parties  as  quickly  as  possible.  It  also  wishes  to  promote  peace  and  stability  by  establishing  cooperation  on  non-security  issues  including  South  China  Sea  environmental  protection,  scientific  research,  humanitarian  assistance,  disaster  relief,  and  efforts  to  combat  maritime  crime.