The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Sunday rejected as “unacceptable” Vietnam’s accusation that a recent drill Taiwan conducted in a Taipei-controlled island in the disputed South China Sea has violated Hanoi’s sovereignty.
In a statement, MOFA said it has learned that Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Pham Thu Hang claimed on June 8 that a round of live-fire drills conducted by Taiwan in the waters surrounding Taiping Island a day earlier was a “serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands.”
The spokeswoman also noted that the drill caused tensions and complicated the situation in the disputed region, according to MOFA.
In response, MOFA said in its statement that Vietnam’s accusation is “totally unacceptable.”
The government of the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, retains all rights over South China Sea islands and their relevant waters, in accordance with international law and the law of the sea, MOFA underlined.
“Taiping Island is indisputably the territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has the authority to exercise all the rights of a sovereign state over Taiping Island and its relevant waters,” the statement said.
Citing President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 2016 principles concerning the South China Sea disputes, MOFA said Tsai calls for peaceful resolution over the issues for peace and stability in the region while upholding equality and shared prosperity.
Taiping, also known as Itu Aba, the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), lies 1,600 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung and is administered as part of the special municipality’s Cijin District.
The island is also claimed by Vietnam, China and the Philippines.
Taiwan has control over the island, which is occupied by Taiwanese coast guard personnel trained by the Marine Corps, with drills regularly held there.
Source : Focus Taiwan