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PCOA Notes President Ma’s Inspection Tour to Taiping Island


 PCOA Notes President Ma’s Inspection Tour to Taiping Island

Source: United Daily News

March 4, 2016

Wang Kuan-hsiung (王冠雄), a professor at National Normal University, yesterday stated that he had learned from two different academic channels that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCOA) in the Netherlands had sent letters to the Philippines and Mainland China asking the two nations to explain their views on Taiwan’s claim that Taiping Island was an island, not a reef.


Wang went on to say that although the Philippines had provided all the documents to the PCOA in the case it brought before the court while Mainland China rejected the PCOA’s jurisdiction over the case.  The PCOA still sent letters to the Philippines and Mainland China asking the two nations to explain three points.  One of the three points was that President Ma Ying-jeou landed on Taiping Island and described the island as capable of sustaining human habitation as it had its own fresh water supply.  The PCOA also cited the remarks and photos posted on the website of the Presidential Office.


Wang pointed out that the PCOA’s letters to the Philippines and Mainland China mentioned President Ma’s claim of sovereignty over Taiping Island through the public domain, showing that President Ma’s inspection tour to Taiping Island last January had caught the attention of the international community.   If the PCOA ruled that Taiping Island was an island according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Republic of China (ROC) would have the right to declare a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone around Taiping Island.


The PCOA will reportedly hand down a ruling on whether Taiping Island is an island some time this year.  In order to prevent the Philippines from trying to influence the PCOA’s ruling, ROC scholars would invite scholars of international law from around the world to attend a forum on the South China Sea in the middle of April.  The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of China would arrange for the scholars to visit Taiping Island, weather permitting.


President Ma plans to embark on a visit to Central America on March 13 and transit in the US.  The media is expected to ask Ma about South China Sea issues, so President Ma may very well make remarks regarding Taiping Island. 

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