Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:33
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou plans to visit the Spratly islands in the South China Sea to stress Taipei's claim to the disputed territory, a report said Saturday.
Ma will go to Taiping Islet, the biggest of the grouping, as early as next week to promote it as an environmental-friendly place and promote Taiwan's claim "in a soft way," said the Liberty Times, citing unnamed sources.
The trip is likely to draw "heightened attention" from neighbouring countries such as Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam that claim all or part of the potentially oil-rich Spratlys, the report said.
All claimants except Brunei have troops based on the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which have a total land mass of less than five square kilometres (two square miles).
Ma's predecessor Chen Shui-bian was the first Taiwanese leader to visit Taiping islet in February 2008 in a move protested by Vietnam and the Philippines.
Taiwan's navy in July took a group of academics to the disputed islands, despite a flare-up of regional tensions over rival claims for the contested waters.
Tensions in the decades-old dispute escalated this year amid accusations from the Philippines and Vietnam that China was becoming increasingly aggressive in staking its claims.
A spokesman for Ma said the president had "no current plans" to visit the islet.
By Findlay Kember
- 13/09/2011 12:36 - Chile remembers Pinochet victims
- 13/09/2011 12:36 - Dipolog solid waste board to ban use of plastics, cellophane by market vendors
- 13/09/2011 12:35 - AsiaNet: New Friendster site gaining momentum
- 13/09/2011 12:34 - National Mango Congress to highlight global competitiveness
- 13/09/2011 12:34 - 'Spartacus' star Whitfield dies of lymphoma at 39
- 12/09/2011 14:34 - An estimated 5,000 other giant crocs live within the Agusan Marsh
- 12/09/2011 14:33 - Religious groups support GPH's CASER draft framework for submission to NDF
- 12/09/2011 14:33 - Ochoa: Anti-terrorism law needs more teeth
- 12/09/2011 14:31 - Aquino declares Sept. 12-17 as Printing Industry Week
- 12/09/2011 14:31 - SPES law lowers family income requirement — Baldoz