By MarEx 2015-10-14 11:06:10
Taiwan said it will increase its coast guard presence in the disputed South China Sea Spratley archipelago.
China’s continued development in the area including artificial islands and reclamation projects is a major concern regional countries. This is the first time Taiwan has weighted in on China’s expansion.
Since 1949, China has claimed its sovereignty over Tiawan, which as has been protected by the U.S. In fact, the U.S. for many years recognized Taiwan as China.
Taiwan is currently constructing a port on the island of Itu Aba that will accommodate about 3,000 Tiawanese Coast Gard vessels and serve as a base. Since 2000, about 180 Tiawanse have been on the 114-acre island and an additional 40 are expected to join after the port is completed.
After China’s land reclamation on Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef, Itu Aba is now the fourth-largest island in the Spratlys.
China’s expansion in the South China Sea has a source of discord for U.S. allies in region inlcuding the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan.
In August, Japan released 14 photos pinpointing 16 offshore platforms located in disputed territories in the South China Sea. China said it would cease its reclamation projects after the photos were released. But, in mid-September, the U.S. reported that China was continuing to dredge in the Spratley archipelago.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded that it was necessary construction to improve conditions on the island.
The U.S. said it was increasing funds for maritime law enforcement to Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The U.S. also said it will contribute more than $100 million per year for maritime enforcement throughout Southeast Asia. Previously, the U.S spent about $25 million in the region.
Japan aslo promised warships and a $1.7 billion donation to Vietnam to strengthen its maritime forces.
While not specifically naming China, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cited stability-threatening, large-scale land reclamation projects and the building of outposts as the primary motivators for the donations.
This post was sourced from Maritime Executive: View original article here.