Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Taiwan Reasserts Its South China Sea Claims

Diplomatically isolated Taiwan has become a pariah claimant to the heavily contested South China Sea. In a dispute dominated by China, Vietnam and the Philippines, Taiwan lost new ground when the world Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague said July 12 that tiny land forms in the sea don’t qualify as islands worthy of a 200-nautical-mile (370-km) exclusive economic zone. That meant Taiwan could not use its long held Taiping Island, also called Itu Aba, as a basis for one of those zones.
Taiwan suddenly popped onto the South China Sea radar again July 20 when five fishing vessels dressed in Taiwanese (Republic of China) flags began a 10-day journey to Taiping some 2,000 km to the south.

Their media voyage was meant to show Taiping is Taiwanese and should be open to Taiwanese fishing boats.
No other claimant governments chased the fishing boats, meaning Taiwan is being tolerated, if not completely ignored. China may grimace but takes a more conciliatory posture since the arbitration court verdict.