Kobe Bryant

Taiwan to PH, China: Scarborough is ours

Taiwan reasserts its claim over Scarborough Shoal as the standoff between the Philippines and China over the area enters its 4th week

TAIWAN'S TERRITORY? Neither the Philippines nor China owns Scarborough Shoal, says claimant Taiwan.

MANILA, Philippines – Who says it’s Philippine or Chinese territory?

The disputed Scarborough Shoal is theirs, Taiwan reasserted as the standoff between the Philippines and China in the area entered its 4th week

Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry is willing to jointly explore South China Sea’s resources with other countries, according to a report by Taiwan’s national news agency Tuesday, May 1.

Taiwan will do this based on the principles of “safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, peace and reciprocity, along with joint exploration,” said the Foreign Ministry in a report for a presentation before the country’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China, considers the mainland or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) illegitimate. The PRC, on the other hand, considers Taiwan a renegade government.

The Philippines and China remain in a stalemate over Scarborough Shoal, after Philippine authorities caught Chinese fishermen allegedly encroaching on what the Philippines claims is its territory. The boatmen also allegedly collected endangered species in the area.

ONGOING STANDOFF. Taiwan reasserts its claim over Scarborough Shoal amid an ongoing standoff between the Philippines and China over the area.

‘Illegal’ PH moves

In its report, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry denounced the Philippines’s claim over Scarborough Shoal as “illegal.” So is the Philippines’s deployment of vessels to “enforce the law,” the agency said.

Taiwan’s defense ministry also said Taiwanese officials will regularly visit the South China Sea to ensure that the country’s Coast Guard Administration on Taiwan’s biggest island, Taiping, has “combat ability as strong as that of the Marine Corps,.”

On Monday, April 30, Taiwanese solons as well as several top military officers flew to Spratly Islands to renew Taiwan’s claim over it. 

In a position paper published April 20, Taiwan said Scarborough Shoal, which it calls Huangyan Island like China, is “an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan).” The country also reaffirmed its claim over other pieces of land, such as the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Islands, and Pratas Islands. 

Respect int’l law

Taiwan then called on other claimants to respect the United Nations (UN) Charter as well as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which governs maritime affairs.

“Furthermore, the Republic of China (Taiwan) urges the countries concerned to exercise self-restraint so that peaceful resolutions can be reached through consultation. Taiwan remains willing to participate in dialogue that seeks to resolve disputes and promote regional peace, stability, and development,” Taiwan said.

TWO STORIES. For China, Scarborough Shoal's story begins with its Yuan dynasty, while the Philippines cites maps made by the Spanish.

China, in claiming Scarborough Shoal, has referred to its centuries-long history as well as fishing tradition. The Philippines, on the other hand, cites effective occupation and effective jurisdiction, as well as Unclos, in establishing its claim. (Read: Scarborough according to Manila, Beijing.) – Rappler.com