Asia

Taiwan takes media on tour of South China Sea island claim

  • An aerial view of Taiwan-controlled Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, is seen in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1600 kms. (1000 miles) south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Taiwan flew international media to the 46 hectares (110 acres) Taiping Island, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, on Wednesday in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

    An aerial view of Taiwan-controlled Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, is seen in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1600 kms. (1000 miles) south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Taiwan flew international media to the 46 hectares (110 acres) Taiping Island, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, on Wednesday in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)  (The Associated Press)

  • Coast Guard Commander Wand Mao-lin, left, and Deputy Foreign Minister Bruce Linghu display locally grown vegetables to a group of visiting government officials, scholars and media to Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1600 kms. (1000 miles) south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Taiwan flew international media to the 46 hectares (110 acres) Taiping Island, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, on Wednesday in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

    Coast Guard Commander Wand Mao-lin, left, and Deputy Foreign Minister Bruce Linghu display locally grown vegetables to a group of visiting government officials, scholars and media to Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1600 kms. (1000 miles) south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Taiwan flew international media to the 46 hectares (110 acres) Taiping Island, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, on Wednesday in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)  (The Associated Press)

  • Coast Guard Commander Wand Mao-lin shows locally raised chickens to a visiting group of government officials, scholars and media to Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1600 kms. (1000 miles) south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Taiwan flew international media to the 46 hectares (110 acres) Taiping Island, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, on Wednesday in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

    Coast Guard Commander Wand Mao-lin shows locally raised chickens to a visiting group of government officials, scholars and media to Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1600 kms. (1000 miles) south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Taiwan flew international media to the 46 hectares (110 acres) Taiping Island, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, on Wednesday in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)  (The Associated Press)

Taiwan has flown international media to its largest island holding in the South China Sea in a bid to reinforce its territorial claims in the disputed and increasingly tense region.

Wednesday's trip is being led by Deputy Foreign Minister Bruce Linghu, who says the intent is to demonstrate that Taiping is an island capable of sustaining human habitation, and not simply a rock as the Philippines claims in a case brought before the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Islands are entitled to territorial waters, an exclusive economic zone and other rights not enjoyed by mere rocks.

Manila's case, which has been rejected by China, aims to challenge Beijing's blanket claim to virtually the entire South China Sea. The case threatens to harm relations between the Philippines and fellow pro-U.S. democracy Taiwan.