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Taiwan leader slams UN ruling, sends patrol ship

In this image taken and made available by the Taiwan Presidential Office on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, center right, reviews nautical charts aboard a Taiwan Navy ship before it sets out to patrol in the South China Sea from the naval base in the southern port city of Khaohsiung, Taiwan. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday it will continue to send planes and ships to the South China Sea to carry out patrol missions and defend Taiwan's territory and sovereignty despite the Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling in The Hague, said the Central News Agency. Taiwan Presidential Office via AP

BEIJING — Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is indignant at the U.N. arbitration tribunal's decision to deny China — and Taiwan — their maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Although rivals, self-ruled Taiwan and China share the same territorial claims, pitting them against other claimants, chiefly the Philippines and Vietnam. The U.N. arbitration tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines and said that the biggest feature in the Spratly Islands — Taiwanese-controlled Taiping or Itu Aba — is not an island but a rock, and therefore not entitled to more than 12 nautical miles of territorial waters.

On Wednesday, Tsai said that the ruling "seriously damaged" Taiwan's rights.

In remarks to navy sailors aboard a frigate before it left on a South China Sea patrol, she said: "This ship represents the Republic of China (Taiwan). The uniform you are wearing represents the expectations of the people. The mission of this trip is to show the Taiwanese people's determination to defend the country's interests."

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said it would continue to send planes and ships to the South China Sea on patrol missions and to defend Taiwan's territory and sovereignty.

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