Why China and Taiwan agree on the South China Sea

Fierce political rivals find common ground on historical accounts that say the sea’s scattered islands are Chinese territory

Asia Times
Date: June 17, 2018
By: Bertil Lintner

A merged Chinese-Taiwanese flag. Image: iStock/Getty Images

If there’s anything China and Taiwan can agree on, it’s that the contested scattered islands in the South China Sea are Chinese territory. But while China flexes its muscles to assert authority over the islands, making the maritime region into a geo-strategic hotspot, Taiwan has no such ambitions.

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in July 2016 in favor of the Philippines against China’s claims, the Office of Taiwan’s president rejected the verdict in terms similar to Beijing.

The court found that China has no “historical right” based on its so-called nine-dash line map that encompasses nearly 90% of the South China Sea, including most of the maritime region’s islands.

China responded by saying it would not abide by the ruling, which it hasn’t judging by its recent moves to militarize the various features it claims in the area.

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