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Don't expect Taiwan to pick a side in South China Sea row

Taiwan is definitely in the Asia-Pacific region, but where is it strategically? Such a question has been again highlighted by the recent flare-up in territorial disputes between China and its neighbors.

Amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, some experts have rightly pointed out that Taiwan, as one of the governments claiming sovereignty over the small islands and waters in the area, has been mostly ignored.

Taipei has never failed to assert its claims over the disputed territories in the South China Sea, but very few of its neighbors have been taking its claims seriously. The world sees it mostly as a row between the ASEAN countries, plus the United States on one side, and China on the other.

It is the same in waters north of Taiwan. The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkaku Islands in Japan, has been mostly seen as a game between China and Japan, though Taiwan has always maintained its claims over the islands.

In the ongoing U.S.-led Pacific Rim joint-exercises, 22 countries, including Russia, are taking part. But two countries in the area are missing: China and Taiwan.

The conspicuous absence of China tells of the underlying tensions in the area. It also demonstrates the changing strategies of many of the countries involved.

During the Cold War era, China and the U.S. teamed up to block the Soviet Union's expansion into the South China Sea. Their major strategic goal was to prevent Vietnam from becoming the region's own “Cuba.”

Times have changed, and so have relationships and global politics. With its rapid rise, China now seems to have picked up the role that the Soviet Union left behind.

Global politics is now of course much different from that during the Cold War, with the threat of war much less likely. But China's neighbors are wary of the giant.

Taiwan is also wary of China, but it is in a much more difficult position than its ASEAN neighbors because of the Chinese communists' sovereignty claims over the island.

July 20, 2012    ASEANUNITE@
TAIWAN SHOULD JUST DROP ITS CLAIMS TO EVERYTHING BUT THE ISLAND OF TAIWAN AND DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM CHINA. ITS CLAIMS ARE TENUOUS AT BEST AND LAUGHABLE AT WORST. IT'S NOT EVEN RECOGNIZED BY ASEAN AND IS NOT PARTY TO THE TALKS OR THE CODE OF CONDUCT.
July 20, 2012    rainday@
According to U.S. hard press U.N. EEZ rules, those islands currently claimed by Japanese are within Taiwan's EEZ.
The world wonders why U.S. didn't mentioned that at all?
For the rest of Chinese territories within South China Sea, Taiwan needs to defend them.
The Chinese civil war was over long time ago.
It is the right time for Taiwan and China to work together to defend all Chinese territories.
Chinese are coming back to the world!
July 20, 2012    richardlord21c@
Taiwan people, you can't deny our own root, your race and your language. Although China is not democratic enough at the moment, does this give you the reason to alienate from it or hate it? Don't get swept by the island's politics and textbooks.
July 20, 2012    chet.longbow@
It is reasonable for Taiwan to claim her Exclusive Economic Zone based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
While China claims that a big swath of the South China Sea is Chinese territory, Taiwan is not China and has no role in the claims.
As for facilities on some South Sea Islands outside of Taiwan EEZ, keep them if they are useful but keep in mind that there is no basis to Taiwan's claim.

Chet Longbow
July 29, 2012    dragovichjet@
richardlord21c@ wrote:
Taiwan people, you can't deny our own root, your race and your language. Although China is not democratic enough at the moment, does this give you the reason to alienate from it or hate it? Don't get swept by the island's politics and textbooks.
American people, you can't deny your own root, your race and your language. Although the UK is greedy enough at the moment, does this give you the reason to alienate from it or hate it? Don't get swept by the continent's politics and textbooks.
August 6, 2012    english_tutor10@
These are the rantings of someone that has no idea what they are talking about.
August 11, 2012    hanshuiraogucheng@
I paid serious attention to your claims and... you are kidding me, right? Come on, who do you Taiwanese think you are? People can not even distinguish Taiwan from Thailand.
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