‘Unlawful:’ PH objects to Taiwan’s ‘live fire drills’ in Spratlys feature
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines expressed its strong objection against Taiwan’s planned live fire drills within the vicinity of Ligaw Island, calling it “unlawful.”
“The Philippines expresses its strong objection over the unlawful live fire drills to be conducted by Taiwan (China) on 28 to 29 June 2022 within the vicinity of Ligaw Island,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ligaw Island, according to the DFA, is “an integral part of the Kalayaan Island Group over which the Philippines has sovereignty.”
“Moreover, this illegal activity raises tensions and complicates the situation in the South China Sea,” it added.
Ligaw Island, also known as Itu Aba, is the largest feature in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled, among others, that Itu Aba does not entitle any claimant to a 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, precluding any overlap with the Philippines’ nearest coast in Palawan.
Itu Aba was long occupied by Taiwan, which calls it Taiping Island. Earlier, Taiwanese lawmakers and fishermen protested the 2016 ruling which undermined Taiwan’s claim in the area.
READ: In the Know: Itu Aba
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