KMT, DPP spar over South China Sea

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Tuesday it might consider legal action against the Kuomintang over allegations that its presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, would drop sovereignty claims over South China Sea islands if she was elected president on January 16.

At a news conference Tuesday, KMT legislator Lin Yu-fang said that Parris Chang, a former deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council who once served as a DPP lawmaker, had said that a Tsai Administration might consider giving Taiwan’s claims of sovereignty over the disputed areas in the South China Sea. Taiwan currently maintains control over one island, Taiping, on which it has built an airport and a harbor.

DPP legislator Chen Chi-mai said the party would take legal action against unfair and untrue accusations. He accused Lin of spreading false rumors in the run-up to the January 16 elections, in which the KMT is running for re-election in a Taipei City district.

“The sovereignty we should claim, we will claim,” Chen reportedly said, calling for respect for international agreements and laws concerning disputed areas and the free passage of shipping. In addition to Taiwan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines also lay claim to large swaths of the South China Sea.

Lin warned that a new DPP government might mishandle the issue of the South China Sea, not only creating problems for regional peace and stability but also for relations with China. Tsai needed to come out and clearly explain what her policies were regarding sovereignty claims over the islands and seas in the area, the KMT legislator said.

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