The Vietnamese Ocean law that officially took effect on Jan. 1 lists the Paracel islands and the Spratly islands as Vietnamese territory. The legislation concerns the management and development of Vietnam's territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

Asked to comment, MOFA spokesman Steve Hsia yesterday called the move “illegal and void.”

He reiterated the Republic of China's sovereignty claim over the two island chains, stressing that the South East Asian country's “unilateral” move will not be recognized by the Taiwan government.

The Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands, known respectively as the Nansha Islands (南沙群島) and the Shisha Islands (西沙群島) in Taiwan, as well as their surrounding waters, sea beds, and subsoil, are an inherent part of the territory of the R.O.C., he noted.

The Taiwanese government has expressed its severe protest to Vietnam's representative office, he added.

Taiwan reiterates that it maintains the principles of “safeguarding sovereignty, shelving disputes, pursuing peace and reciprocity, and promoting joint exploration,” and is willing to work with other countries involved to harvest the resources of the South China Sea, he said.

The law was initially passed by Vietnam's legislature in June, 2012, and it officially took effect Jan. 1.

China, which also claims the two island chains, also condemned the Vietnamese move on Dec. 31, 2012 as “illegal and void.”

By Joseph Yeh - The China Post (.tw) - January 4, 2013