A nurse serving on the largest of a disputed series of islands in the South China Sea has registered her residence their, making her the first Taiwanese citizen to do so.
Taiwanese media report that Chu Mei-ling, who hails from Kaohsiung, changed her official residence to the Spratly Islands on January 21 in support of the government’s ambitions in the South China Sea.
President Ma Ying-jeou visited Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba Island, on January 28 to meet personnel and deliver a speech ahead of Chinese New Year. During his visit he offered his praise for Chu’s decision.
Two other nurses serving on the island, Pan Man-chi and Lin Fang-tzu, have also said they plan to register their residence to the Spratlys Islands, referred to as the Nansha Islands by the Chinese, when they return to Taiwan on leave.
Taiping Island is currently the southernmost territory under the control of the Republic of China, located more than 1,600 kilometers from southern Taiwan. The is;and is also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.
Earlier this month, the first Chinese tourists visited another disputed island in the Spratlys, called Yongshu Reef in Chinese, after the Chinese government gave permission for two civil airlines to land on the territory.