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Home The News News Itu Aba dredging completed, CGA says

Itu Aba dredging completed, CGA says

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday confirmed that a dredging project to allow larger vessels to dock at a wharf serving Taiwan-controlled Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) has been completed.

However, the coast guard did not respond when asked if President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would preside over a planned opening ceremony for the renovated wharf.

The CGA’s confirmation came following a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News earlier yesterday, which included a call from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Charles Chen (陳以信) for Tsai to reaffirm the nation’s sovereignty by visiting the disputed island.

Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island) in the South China Sea is pictured through the window of a plane on July 20, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang’s office

Chen, a member of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, said that Tsai should follow the examples of former presidents Chen Shiu-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and travel to the island for the opening ceremony.

The NT$1.7 billion (US$54.4 million) project to dredge sediment and deepen navigation channels would allow 4,000-tonne coast guard vessels to make routine patrols in the waters around the island, the CGA said in a statement.

The renovation, which was completed on Oct. 30 last year and passed the required inspections on Jan. 20, also included reinforced typhoon-related disaster prevention measures, it said.

Itu Aba Island is the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) in the South China Sea, 1,600km southwest of Kaohsiung, and is administered as part of the city’s Cijin District (旗津).

The island hosts about 200 members of the coast guard trained by the Marine Corps, who regularly hold drills.

The island is also claimed by Vietnam, China and the Philippines.

It is one of two territories controlled by Taiwan in the South China Sea, the other being the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島), which lie 450km southwest of Kaohsiung.

Lawmakers on the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee and Internal Administration Committee in November last year said that they plan to visit Itu Aba Island to reassert the nation’s sovereignty.

The last time a trip to Itu Aba Island was made by lawmakers was in 2016.

Visiting the island requires the lawmakers to take an air force C-130 transport plane and to plan a backup airport in case of an emergency, they said.


Source: Taipei Times - 2024/01/30



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Newsflash

Media reform and children’s welfare activists yesterday condemned media outlets for recent reports that violated the privacy of former president Chen Shui-bian’s grandson Chao Yi-an.

“A lot of people in our society do not like Chen and his family but the children [in the family] should not be dragged into this,” Humanistic Education Foundation chairman Shih Ying told a news conference. “The penalty of zhulian jiuzu should not exist in the civilized and democratic society we’re living in today.”