Date: July 18, 2015
By RALPH JENNINGS, Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — As China builds artificial islands in a vast resource-rich South China
Sea and neighbors in Southeast Asia brace for possible conflict, Taiwan is cutting carbon emissions and offering a hospital for humanitarian aid on the sea’s largest natural islet to seek international approval for easing tension.
Taiwan’s unusual use of Taiping Island in the heavily contested Spratly archipelago may appeal particularly to the United States, a staunch, long-time informal ally that has at least scrutinized the legal basis for Taiwan’s maritime claims. Washington, seeking stable relations with China as well, has also urged the six claimants to cooperate rather than fight.
Taiwan, which lacks the diplomatic ties to negotiate with the other five governments with claims in the South China Sea, has installed $1.29 million worth of solar panels on Taiping Island since 2011 to light a cluster of buildings and provide power for construction of a 200-meter (yard) pier due for completion by year’s end, the head of the island’s coast guard said Friday. [FULL STORY]