Date: January 28, 2016
President Ma Ying-jeou’s Jan. 28 visit to Taiping Island (Itu Aba)
underscores the commitment of the ROC government to protecting the nation’s territorial rights and maritime interests in the South China Sea, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Situated 1,600 kilometers south of Kaohsiung City, Taiping is the largest naturally formed island of the Nansha (Spratly) Islands. Ma is expected to greet the personnel stationed on Taiping while inspecting the island’s infrastructure development.
MOFA Minister David Y. L. Lin said the visit is a timely gesture highlighting the importance of regional peace and stability, and it is appropriate for the president to offer local residents glad tidings ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
“The Taiping outing is in keeping with the spirit of President Ma’s South China Sea Peace Initiative, which upholds the longstanding principles of safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, pursuing peace and reciprocity and promoting joint exploration and development.”
Proposed in May 2015, the initiative sets an example for resolving regional disputes by peaceful means. Its significance is especially salient given recent territorial claims by neighboring countries and territories in the region. [FULL STORY]