WASHINGTON — The Republic of China (Taiwan) government placed an advertisement in a U.S. newspaper Friday to highlight the important role played by Taiwan in the Asia-Pacific region and the peaceful purpose of Taiping Island, the largest of the disputed Spratly Islands controlled by Taiwan in the South China Sea.
The full-page ad in the Washington Times says the R.O.C. is the only democracy in the ethnic Chinese world and plays the role of a peace creator in the region. The R.O.C. is also very important to the U.S. economy and to the global supply chain, the ad says.
The ad also contains a photo of Taiping Island and of a newly constructed lighthouse on the island, along with the peace initiative proposed by Taiwan for resolving the South China Sea territorial dispute.
Shen Lyushun, Taiwan’s representative to the United States, said the purpose of the ad was to tell people that Taiping Island is a naturally formed island that can not only claim 12-nautical-mile territorial waters but also an exclusive economic zone stretching 200 nautical miles.
In this case, the total marine territory around Taiping would be 126,000 nautical square miles, he said. On the possibility of President Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to Taiping Island and Washington’s position on the issue, Shen said Taiwan and the United States maintain very good communication on various issues and that the U.S. government respects Taiwan’s sovereignty over and position on Taiping Island.
He stressed that Taiwan is different from China, which has built man-made islands in the South China Sea.
He said the wharf and runway renovation projects on Taiping Island have only expanded the island’s area from 0.49 square kilometers to 0.51 square kilometers and do not involve any reclamation work.