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MOFA organizes first visit to Taiping Island by local and foreign media
Date: 2016/03/23    Data Source: Public Diplomacy Coordination Council
March 23, 2016
No. 072

Members of the local and foreign media visited Taiping Island on March 23 at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an experience of the ecological environment of the largest of the Republic of China’s Nansha Islands, and to better understand the important role the ROC plays in peace and humanitarian relief efforts. They were accompanied by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruce J.D. Linghu, Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen, and a number of experts.

President Ma Ying-jeous unveiling of the South China Sea Peace Initiative Roadmap and his remarks during an inspection tour of Taiping Island on January 28 of this year drew considerable attention and international media coverage. On today’s trip, ROC and foreign journalists drank water from a local well and had lunch prepared from crops and poultry raised on a local farm, testament that the island’s natural environment can sustain human habitation and economic life of its own.

Medical personnel at Nansha Hospital told visiting journalists that the hospital not only provides emergency treatment to ROC citizens but also humanitarian assistance to foreign nationals. Between February 2000 and December 2015, it provided medical aid in 23 instances, including to foreign nationals in 12 cases, in the spirit of having Taiping Island serve as an island for peace and humanitarian rescue operations.

The visiting journalists toured the forest, local farm, post office, solar power facilities, as well as the Guanyin Temple built in the 1950s. Near the temple are the ruins of a tombstone dating back to the Qing dynasty and a memorial stele bearing the inscription “The ROC’s Taiping naval vessel was here.” These evidences of earlier human activity on Taiping Island fully confirm that the island is capable of sustaining human life.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Linghu discussed with the media the ROC government’s use of peaceful means to protect its legal rights and interests with regard to Taiping Island as well as its long-term policy of peaceful operations in the South China Sea. He urged the international community to accord due attention to the South China Sea Peace Initiative put forth by the ROC government on May 26, 2015, respect the ROC’s presence and rights in the South China Sea, and appropriately include the ROC in related multilateral talks so that it can join in common endeavors to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The journalists and government officials were joined on the tour by four ROC scholars and experts—Wang Kuan-hsiung, professor at the Graduate Institute of Political Science of National Taiwan Normal University; Tang Shi-yeoung, research fellow at the Institute for Social Sciences and Philosophy of Academia Sinica; Chang Ta-wei, research fellow and head of the environmental division of the Agricultural Engineering Research Center; and Chen Chien-fan, assistant researcher at the botanical garden division of the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute. (E)
 
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    1. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruce J.D. Linghu, Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen, experts, and local and foreign journalists on Taiping Island.

      Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruce J.D. Linghu, Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen, experts, and local and foreign journalists on Taiping Island.

    2. Members of the local and foreign media enjoy a lunch prepared from locally raised chicken and vegetables.

      Members of the local and foreign media enjoy a lunch prepared from locally raised chicken and vegetables.

    3. Visiting journalists drink water from a well while listening to a briefing on water quality by Chang Ta-wei, head of the environmental division of the Agricultural Engineering Research Center.

      Visiting journalists drink water from a well while listening to a briefing on water quality by Chang Ta-wei, head of the environmental division of the Agricultural Engineering Research Center.

    4. Local and foreign journalists visited Nansha Hospital, which serves as a base for humanitarian rescue operations in the South China Sea, and interviewed medical staff resident on Taiping Island.

      Local and foreign journalists visited Nansha Hospital, which serves as a base for humanitarian rescue operations in the South China Sea, and interviewed medical staff resident on Taiping Island.

    5. Chen Chien-fan, a vegetation expert from the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, introduces the ferns and other plants that thrive in the primary forest.

      Chen Chien-fan, a vegetation expert from the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, introduces the ferns and other plants that thrive in the primary forest.