Taiwan Today has the skinny...
President Ma Ying-jeou unveiled May 26 his South China Sea Peace Initiative, calling on all countries and territories in the region to employ it in resolving disputes and developing resources.Ma remains the Chinese nationalist ideologue, even as his administration enters its twilight. The idea of "peaceful development" is of course territorial expansion by other means -- since these islands and sand banks were never Chinese, it follows that any "shared" development is handing China resources it doesn't own.
“In view of rising tensions in this region, the ROC, drawing on its successful peacemaking experiences in the East China Sea, solemnly pledges to take the lead in advancing peace and prosperity through this initiative,” Ma said.
“Whether from the perspective of history, geography or international law, the Dongsha [Pratas], Nansha [Spratly], Shisha [Paracel] and Zhongsha [Macclesfield Bank], as well as their surrounding waters, are an indisputable part of ROC territory. The nation holds full rights over them in accordance with international law.”
Bill Hayton shows how China has warped the historiography of the South China Sea in an excellent piece in the Asia Sentinel.
Ma's "peace initiative" comes as the US was challenged by Chinese as its aircraft overflew the area. The Chinese are attempting to claim nearly the entire South China Sea as if it were its own local waters, and will likely impose an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the area, more salami slicing extension of sovereignty.
What China is doing is trying to turn its bogus EEZ, created by island building, into territorial waters. Even within EEZ every nation has right of passage. The only limitation is on who has the right to exploit the resources within the EEZ. Activities, including scientific exploration, laying communications cables, even military exercises, are all legal inside the EEZ and outside of a state's territorial waters (the 12 nautical mile limit). As a friend noted "It's just Beijing making us think that EEZ and territorial waters is the same."
The SCS drama makes it clear what would happen if China ever annexed Taiwan: more extension of its "sovereignty" out toward the Japanese islands to the east, Okinawa to the north of the Senkakus, and south towards Batan Island north of the Philippines.
It was rather widely reported that a Chinese paper said "China threatens war over South China Sea!" That was the Global Times, which apparently does that a lot. Please ignore...
- Good piece from Josh Ellis on the Chiang Kai-shek statue park.
- A good entry on Dadi Gorge
- Another good one: Sullivan's reading list for Taiwan identity.
- Commonwealth interviews three exchange students from China. Some very interesting remarks, ignore the silly title.
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