Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Cambodia on November 4, 2002.
1) The government of the Republic of China reiterates its territorial sovereignty over Dongsha (the Pratas Islands), Xisha (the Parcel Islands), Zhongsha (the Macclesfield Bank) and Nansha (the Spratly Islands) in the South China Sea, over which it has all lawful rights according to international law.
2) The government of the Republic of China has always upheld the principle of “putting aside the issue of sovereignty and co-exploring resources” to resolve disputes through consultation, dialogue and other peaceful means. The government of the Republic of China regrets and expresses its protest and discontent to ASEAN and the PRC for ignoring the lawful rights of the Republic of China and for signing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea without inviting the government of the Republic of China to participate in the discussion.
3) As a country concerned in the South China Sea, the Republic of China, based on the principles of independent sovereignty and mutual respect, is willing to promote cooperation and resolve the disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful means. It is also willing to cooperate with all other countries in the South China Sea to protect its biodiversity as well as the peace and stability of the region.
4) Since 2000, the Republic of China has adopted a series of confidence building measures with regards to the Pratas and Spratly Islands. Staffs of the Coast Guard Administration, instead of the Arm Forces, are stationed there to enforce the law. We call on all parties concerned in the South China Sea, based on the same spirit, to seek the peaceful development of the region.