The first person to register her residence in the Spratly islands has denounced Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea.
Chi Mei-ling of Taiwan is now an official resident of Kaohisung Cijin District’s Nansha No.1 – the sole address on the island.
“I want to declare Taiwan’s sovereignty,” Chi said. “Taping Island belongs to Taiwan.”
Chi is a nurse contracted by the Ministry of Health and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA). She said international disputes over the Spratly islands motivated her to switch her residence status.
The Spratly islands are located in the disputed South China Sea. Beijing claims virtually all of this resource-rich region, which serves as the passage way for more than $1 trillion in ship-borne goods each year. Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines are among the nations that claim territory in the area.
Chi says she made her decision to “let the international community know that Taiping Island belongs to its residents.”
Pan Man-chi and Lin Fang-tzu, the two other nurses on the island, also plan to register their residencies in the Spratlys. The CGA said the two would do so when they return to Taiwan proper on leave.
Chi said Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou personally thanked her during his visit to the Spratly islands.
Taiping Island is administered as part of Cijin District. It is the southernmost region under the control of the Republic of China.