Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Friday nixed the possibility of Taiwan consulting with China over the controversial Spratly Islands issue.
The Republic of China on Taiwan is a sovereign state which legitimately controls Taiping Island, part of the disputed Nansha or Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, said MND spokesman Lo Shao-ho.
“Taiwan will not consult or cooperate with China over disputes surrounding the South China Sea issues,” Lo reiterated.
Lo made the remarks in response to the recent publication of a report on the South China Sea situation jointly authored by scholars from Taiwan and China.
In the report — the first of its kind ever published — a Chinese scholar said as long as Taiwan avoids creating “two Chinas” in the name of partaking in South China Sea dispute resolutions, mainland China will be willing to help Taiwan participate in international negotiations over the Spratlys disputes in an “appropriate” capacity.
The report also suggested that the two sides build up mutual military trust, support each other in military actions in the South China Sea, and could even join hands in patrolling the region.
Disagreeing with the report, Lo said Taiwan will continue to focus its engagement with China on economic issues and it is still premature for the two sides to talk about political or security issues.
“Diplomatic approaches or negotiations are better ways to address the Spratlys disputes,” Lo suggested.
Meanwhile, Lo said, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) forces, backed up by the Marines, are on effective guard on Taiping Island and Dongsha or Pratas Islands in the region.
The CGA presence on the two archipelagos also demonstrates Taiwan’s national sovereignty over the region, he added.
The Spratlys and various other archipelagos in the South China Sea are claimed either in whole or in part by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
The stakes are high as reports indicate a rich deposit of crude oil and other natural resources in that region.