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.