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ROC position on the South China Sea Arbitration

July 12, 2016
No. 002                                

The award rendered by the tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the South China Sea arbitration is completely unacceptable to the government of the Republic of China. The tribunal’s decisions have no legally binding force on the ROC, for the following reasons:

1. In the text of the award, the ROC is referred to as “Taiwan Authority of China.” This inappropriate designation is demeaning to the status of the ROC as a sovereign state.

2.Taiping Island was not originally included in the Philippines’ submissions for arbitration. However, the tribunal took it upon itself to expand its authority, declaring ROC-governed Taiping Island, and other features in the Nansha (Spratly) Islands occupied by Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, all to be rocks that “do not generate an exclusive economic zone.” This decision severely jeopardizes the legal status of the South China Sea Islands, over which the ROC exercises sovereignty, and their relevant maritime rights.

That the ROC is entitled to all rights over the South China Sea Islands and their relevant waters in accordance with international law and the law of the sea is beyond dispute. The arbitral tribunal did not formally invite the ROC to participate in its proceedings, nor did it solicit the ROC’s views. Therefore, the award has no legally binding force on the ROC.

The ROC government reiterates that the South China Sea Islands are part of the territory of the ROC and that it will take resolute action to safeguard the country’s territory and relevant maritime rights.

The ROC government urges that disputes in the South China Sea be settled peacefully through multilateral negotiations, in the spirit of setting aside differences and promoting joint development. The ROC is willing, through negotiations conducted on the basis of equality, to work with all States concerned to advance peace and stability in the South China Sea.(E)