A memorial plaque signed by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, which is engraved with the words, "Peace in the South China Sea and our national territory secure forever", is seen in Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, South China Sea,Taiwan March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Hamacher/File Photo

(From Reuters)

Taiwan on Friday called on an international tribunal not to make a ruling on a disputed South China Sea island if the judges do not first visit it to see for themselves it can sustain life.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou posts a letter in a mailbox during his visit to Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba

Taiwan wants to prove Itu Aba (Taiping) is not just a rock, but a real island that can qualify for a maritime economic zone.

China refuses to recognise a case lodged by the Philippines with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the South China Sea and says such disputes should be resolved through bilateral talks.

The panel does not rule on sovereignty but it does outline a system of economic zones that can be claimed from features such as islands.

“The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s formal name) once again solemnly invites the five arbitrators (in the Philippine case) to conduct a field study on Taiping Island,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. Read More

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