Editorial abstracts: US treats Taiwan as pawn in South China Sea case

14 July 2016/ Christie Chen / FocusTaiwan

Taipei, July 14 (CNA) Three major Taiwanese dailies have published editorials on Thursday on the South China Sea ruling. The following is an abstract of those editorials.

@ China Times: U.S. treats Taiwan as pawn. Tsai Ing-wen, got it?

The United States has taught Taiwan and China a lesson – “whoever has power makes the law.” It has also taught the Tsai Ing-wen administration a lesson – what it means to be a strategic pawn.

In her inaugural address on May 20, Tsai clearly indicated that Taiwan will be standing with the United States and Japan, with which it shares the same values.

When talking about South China Sea issues, Tsai often mentions her respect for the international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Her advocacy for freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea also echoes the U.S.’s claims.

But Tsai and former President Ma Ying-jeou would have never believed that their remarks will turn out to be unnecessary and meaningless in the eyes of the United States, which has its own strategic plans.

Why did the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dare call an “island” a “rock”? It is because the United States trusts neither the Chinese nor Taiwanese government. Tsai’s administration may be willing to cooperate with the United States instead of with China, but that does not mean future governments in Taiwan will be willing to do so. It is better to take drastic measures and rule Taiping Island – the largest one of the Spratly Islands – a “rock.”

That way, if Taiwan and China ever cooperate, they can only cooperate over a “rock” and that will not jeopardize the United State’s freedom of navigation and economic development rights in the region.

The United State’s intentions are clear. It is using the Philippines and the international tribunal to invalidate Taiwan’s and China’s historical claims within the U-shaped line, to increase the difficulty for Beijing to negotiate with other claimants in the future.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) may have chosen to remain silent about the ruling or even look favorably on it, if the ruling did not ridiculously call an “island” a “rock.”

The DPP government must accept the reality that it is no more than a pawn in the rebalancing of United States power toward the Asia-Pacific region.

@ Liberty Times: South China Sea is not China’s inland sea

The international tribunal’s dismissal of China’s nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea matches common sense. China is accustomed to using historical claims to justify its annexation. It does so in the South China Sea, and it does so to Taiwan.

China was dealt a blow in the ruling because it is over-ambitious. China needs to abide by the ruling, cease its militarization in the South China Sea, and resolve its disputes with other countries through negotiations, in order to maintain peace and order in the region.

If China insists on regarding the ruling as “a piece of waste paper,” it will leave a bad precedent and hurt its international image and status.

China started the South China Sea disputes, but Taiwan was dragged into the matter for no reason. We must take more actions besides expressing our dissatisfaction and refusal to accept the outcome of the ruling.

It was necessary that President Tsai expressed her will to defend our country’s territory and sovereignty, and it was necessary that she boarded a frigate to declare Taiwan’s stance, before the frigate set off on a patrol mission near the Spratly Islands.

Aside from expressing their anger, Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties should also review its South China Sea policies and international strategy. Taiwan needs to form a united front against external challenges. It is inappropriate for opposition party chairs and lawmakers to point fingers at Tsai.

We are also against Taiwan cooperating with China to defend Taiping Island and their sovereignty interests in the South China Sea.

It will only reaffirm the image that “Taiwan is a part of China” and it will offend the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other neighboring countries, creating trouble for Taiwan’s security and its new “Look South” policy.

If China wants to be the “South China Sea scoundrel,” it should bear the consequences on its own. Taiwan does not need to get involved. The practical thing for Taiwan to do is to defend its sovereignty over Taiping Island and protect its fishing rights in the area.

@ United Daily News: How Tsai misjudged the South China Sea case

President Tsai was originally scheduled to give a talk on the night the tribunal issued its ruling on the South China Sea case, but she delayed the talk until Wednesday because the result of the ruling was too different from what the government had anticipated. The president had no choice but to rewrite her speech.

The government’s wishful thinking was that the tribunal would never deny the hard fact that the Taiping Island is an “island.” China’s U-shaped line claim, however, might be challenged and the government thought it would be a chance for Taiwan to distance itself from China and court the United States and other countries.

But the government did not anticipate that the international tribunal would slap both China and Taiwan in the face, and downgrade Taiwan to “The Taiwan Authority of China.”

The way that the South China Sea drama played out was completely beyond the Tsai government’s imagination. And that was why government agencies appeared to be so caught off guard in the face of the ruling. Read more…

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