FII discusses redesigning tourism and laying foundations for future success    Islamic Affairs Minister awarded Albanian Islamic Sheikhdom Shield    Al-Rajhi holds bilateral meetings with number of labor ministers in Dubai    Sheikh Al-Sudais inaugurates smart disinfection robot at Grand Mosque    Al-Murabba provides 7 International dining destinations to its visitors    TDF, Ennismore sign MoU to explore $400 million investment fund    FII reconsiders infrastructure establishment logistics    Al-Jadaan: CCE must be taken into consideration to address climate change    Saudi, US Navies' Blue Defender 21 drill concludes    UK plans to remove travel 'red list' and hotel quarantine: Report    Janssen partners with National Guard Hospital to offer breakthrough genetic testing to leukemia patients    Lebanese PM Mikati rejects Kordahi's remarks on Yemen    United upsets Friends, ICAD downs Chinar, CSG edges Pak Zalmi: Kanoo league    Vague promises not enough, planet still on track for catastrophic heating: UNEP report    Ithra's 4th Tanween season explores 'Tools' that shape creativity for the future    Legendary comedian and satirist Mort Sahl dies at age 94    RedSeaIFF invites audiences to discover selection of masterpieces    Riyadh Season hosts Barcelona and Boca Juniors on Maradona Cup night    All eyes on Jeddah! World's best golfers set for climax of Aramco Team Series    Pakistan hammer India by 10 wickets to clinch T20 win    Bride's fingerprint not required in revised e-marriage contract    Bollywood superstar's son denied bail in drugs case    Saudis, expats mourn death of prominent Filipino preacher in Riyadh    Bollywood actor Sidharth Shukla dies at 40    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Directs KSrelief to Urgently Provide Malaysia with Medical, Preventive Equipment and Supplies to Address COVID-19 Pandemic    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Maldives on Independence Day    Weather Forecast for Sunday    RSNF Commander Patronizes Ceremonial Launching of His Majesty's Ship "Jazan"    OIC Condemns Houthi Attempts to Target Civilians in Saudi Arabia    Philippines evacuates thousands as monsoon rains flood cities, provinces    Heavy rain in India triggers floods, landslides; at least 125 dead    U.S. Records 64,321 New Infections of Coronavirus    Without Fans, Tokyo Olympics Kicked Off    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Dr. Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's Pick to Chair IsDB Group for the next five years, unanimously approved by BoG Committee of Procedures    Saudi Press: Fitch affirms Saudi Credit Rating at "A" with a revised outlook to stable from negative    Handled Cargo at Saudi Ports Increases during June 2021    SDAIA, DARP & STC Launch Pilgrim's Smart Bracelet (NUSK)    2 Goals by Diaz Gives Colombia 3rd Place at Copa America    Saudi Cinema Night at Arab World Institute in Paris Kicks Off    KSU Leads Joint International Scientific Project for Early Detection of Breast Cancer    Saudi Arabia to Participate in Cannes Film Festival 2021    Arab Cup U-17 Championship Draw Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Palestine, Kuwait, in the 1st Group    AWI Hosts Saudi Cinema Nights in Paris    Brazil Beats Chile at Copa America Despite 2nd-Half Red Card    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



US slams Taiwan president's planned visit to contested South China Sea island
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 28 - 01 - 2016

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's planned trip to the Taiwanese-held island of Itu Aba in the disputed South China Sea is "extremely unhelpful" and won't do anything to resolve disputes over the waterway, a US official said on Wednesday.
Ma's office earlier announced that the president, who steps down in May, would fly to Itu Aba on Thursday to offer Chinese New Year wishes to residents on the island, mainly Taiwanese coastguard personnel and environmental scholars.
But Ma's one-day visit to Itu Aba, known as Taiping in Taiwan, comes amid growing international concern over rising tensions in the waterway and quickly drew the ire of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto US embassy in Taipei in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.
"We are disappointed that President Ma Ying-jeou plans to travel to Taiping Island," AIT spokeswoman Sonia Urbom said in an email to Reuters.
"Such an action is extremely unhelpful and does not contribute to the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea."
The United States wanted Taiwan and all claimants to lower tensions, rather than taking actions that could raise them, Urbom added.
On a visit to Beijing on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington and Beijing needed to find a way to ease tensions in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
"We talked about the possibility of a diplomatic way forward and Foreign Minister Wang Yi accepted the idea that it would be worth exploring whether or not there was a way to reduce the tensions and solve some of the challenges through diplomacy," Kerry said.
Both Taiwan and China claim most of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also have competing claims. Vietnam's most senior official in Taiwan said Hanoi "resolutely opposes" Ma's planned visit.
Itu Aba lies in the Spratly archipelago, where China's rapid construction of seven man-made islands has drawn alarm across parts of Asia and been heavily criticized by Washington.
Taiwan has just finished a $100 million port upgrade and built a new lighthouse on Itu Aba, which has its own airstrip, a hospital and fresh water.
Ma's visit follows elections won by the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ma's office said it had asked DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen to send a representative, but the party said it had no plans to do so.
Beijing, recognised by most of the world as the head of "one China," deems Taiwan a wayward province to be retaken by force if necessary.
Yann-huei Song, a prominent Taiwan scholar who advises the government on South China Sea issues, said Ma was making the trip to make sure Taiwan, recognized by only a handful of countries, had a voice.
"No one is listening to Taiwan," Song, who is a research fellow with the prestigious Academia Sinica in Taiwan, said. "You are not allowed to participate in the multilateral dispute mechanism. What would you do?"
Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore's ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, said he expected the Philippines and Vietnam to lodge a strong protest.
"But I do think it is unlikely they would stage a similar visit involving a senior political figure going to one of their own occupied islands ... that would risk inflaming relations with China and neither want to go that far," Storey said.
Asked to comment on Ma's planned visit, the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office reiterated that China and Taiwan had a common duty to protect Chinese sovereignty in the waterway.
"Safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as safeguarding the overall interests of the Chinese nation is the common responsibility and obligation of compatriots across the straits," spokesman Ma Xiaoguang told reporters in Beijing.
The claims of both China and Taiwan are based on maps from the late 1940s belonging to the Nationalists, when they ruled all of China. The Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war to Mao Zedong's Communists.
But it has appeared unfazed by Taiwan's upgrading work on Itu Aba. Military strategists say that is because Itu Aba could fall into China's hands should it ever take over Taiwan.
Dustin Wang, a long-time Taiwanese scholar on the South China Sea who has visited Itu Aba, said one of Ma's goals was to highlight the island's civilian uses.
"Ma will demonstrate that facilities on the island, like the hospital, provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," he said.
Itu Aba was now the fourth largest island in the Spratlys after China's land reclamation work on Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef, Taiwan's coastguard said in October.
The island supports around 180 people, about 150 of them coastguard personnel who have had oversight of the 46-hectare (114-acre) island since 2000. — Reuters


Clic here to read the story from its source.