A Taiwanese official told Japan’s Kyodo News on Wednesday that Taiwan will soon complete the construction of a lighthouse on an island in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, a project that has been protested by the Vietnamese government.
The official at the Maritime and Port Bureau of the Taiwanese Ministry of Transportation and Communications said construction of the first lighthouse on Ba Binh Island, also known as Taiping or Itu Aba, was scheduled to be completed on Wednesday or Thursday and the solar-powered lighthouse will be ready to enter operation as soon as it passes inspections.
The construction aims to "strengthen national sovereignty and protect navigation safety," the bureau claims on its website.
Apart from the lighthouse, Taiwan is also building a pier and a runway on the Ba Binh Island despite Vietnam’s objections. Both projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
On August 24, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Nguyen Hai Binh said Vietnam resolutely opposed Taiwan’s construction of the lighthouse.
“Vietnam has full legal basis and historic evidence to claim its uncontroversial sovereignty over Spratly and Parcel Archipelagos. All foreign-related activities in the water areas are illegal and valueless without Vietnam’s permission,” he said.
The lighthouse construction has seriously violated Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty, caused strain and complicated the situation in the East Sea, he said.
“Vietnam demands Taiwan put an end to such wrongdoings and not to take similar actions.”