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The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) reiterates its sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and has proposed a Spratly Initiative that focuses on environmental protection instead of sovereignty disputes.
On August 11, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, led media members to Swallow Reef (Layang-Layang atoll in Malaysian) near the Spratly Islands and proclaimed Malaysia’s sovereignty over the island. The position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is as follows: 1.The Spratly Islands, including the Swallow Reef (Layang-Layang atoll), are located in Taiwan’s territorial waters. From either a historical, geographical or international legal perspective, the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Islands, Pratas Islands and nearby waters are part of Taiwan’s territory and territorial waters. 2.The government of Taiwan calls on neighboring countries in the South China Sea to shelve sovereignty disputes and jointly explore resources based on the principle and spirit of the UN Charter, the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Our government is willing to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation and dialogue. 3.Our government proposed a Spratly Initiative this year, taking the position that the future of the South China Sea depends on substituting the sovereignty issue with environmental protection, and resource exploitation with ecological preservation. South China Sea states need to concern themselves with the threat that global warming and rising sea levels pose to the sustainable management of island reefs, and give priority to listing the South China Sea as a marine ecological sanctuary that is regularly open to international ecology experts and environmental protection groups for research and field observation. It is hoped that the unstable situation in the South China Sea can be improved through track two channels. (E)