TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it completely denied Vietnam’s claim that Taiwan’s planned live-fire drills in the Spratly Islands seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty.
Vietnam’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday (June 8) calling on Taiwan to cancel the planned exercise. Taiwan’s live-fire drills in the waters around Taiping Island in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands constitute a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty…threats to peace, stability, maritime safety and security. security, as well as escalating tensions and complicating the situation in the South China Sea,” a spokesman told Vietnam Express.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Sunday (June 11) after being questioned by Taiwan News, saying there was “no doubt” that the Taiping Islands are Taiwan’s sovereign territory.
“The government of the Republic of China reaffirms that it enjoys all rights under international law and the law of the sea with respect to the South China Sea Zhudao and their related waters,” the foreign ministry said, echoing past statements made on the territory. The Ministry of National Defense told Taiwan News on Saturday (June 10) that the planned exercise is under the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Coast Guard.
Like many of the Spratly islands, Taiping is disputed over its sovereignty and is claimed by Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said President Tsai Ing-wen outlined in 2016 a framework for dealing with territorial disputes in the region, which included working with the international community to resolve disputes in accordance with international law. In 2016, however, Taiwan rejected an international tribunal (initiated by the Philippines against China) that classified the territory as a rock, meaning Taiwan is not entitled to the exclusive economic zone granted to the islands.
Taiping Island is almost completely covered by an airfield controlled by the Taiwanese military. In 2016, Taiwan upgraded the island’s dock facilities, reportedly to accommodate warships, while unconfirmed rumors emerged in 2022 that Taiwan planned to upgrade the island’s airfield to accommodate fighter jets.
Taiping Island, officially part of Kaohsiung, is about 1,500 kilometers from the southern Taiwanese city. It is about 400 kilometers away from the Philippines and about 600 kilometers away from Vietnam.
Taiping Island is relative to the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, which administers the territory.