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Spratlys > News > English News > April 2004 

Category: @News  @China

MOFA says no military work conducted on Spratly Islands
2004-04-01 / Taiwan News, Staff Reporter / By Tsai Ting-I

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday downplayed Vietnam's warning over Taiwan's construction work on an island in the heavily disputed Spratly archipelago, explaining that the construction carries no agressive implications.

The construction work has no military purpose, and the Republic of China did not intend to create any tension within the region," ministry spokesman Richard Shih (石瑞琦) clarified.

Shih added that MOFA relayed an explanatory message to the Vietnamese government through "existent channels," which he declined to elaborate on.

Vietnam warned Taiwan that it would have to face the consequences of carrying out construction work on the Truong Sa archipelago, arguing that Taiwan's move is a violation of Vietnam's sovereignty.

Based on the argument, it demands that Taiwan immediately put an end to all encroachments on Vietnam's sovereignty and guarantee that similar acts would not recur.

"Vietnam vehemently condemns Taiwan's actions and demands an immediate end to such operations in Vietnam's Truong Sa archipelago," foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung aired out his comments in the state media.

In response, the Coast Guard Administration under the Executive Yuan elaborated that the construction involved an environmental observation pavilion, which was started last February.

Harboring vital shipping lanes believed to contain vast oil and gas reserves,

Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, and Taiwan have made claims on the archipelago which has been the source of tension in the area.

In November 2002, China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed a protocol to avoid any actions which could intensify tensions in that area, leaving Taiwan out of the region's communication mechanism.

In response to the warning, Shih yesterday again appealed to the ASEAN members to appropriately include Taiwan as a member of the protocol, and to further cooperate with Taiwan in order to peacefully sort out the sovereignty dispute over the Spratly.

source: http://www.etaiwannews.com/Taiwan/2004/04/01/1080784417.htm