Taiwan in the South China Sea Disputes: Policies and Prospects

  • Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng


Taiwan’s South China Sea policy is influenced by its domestic party politics and cross-strait relations with China. Generally, the Kuomintang (the KMT) adopts a different course from that of the Democratic Progressive Party (the DPP) on this matter. Before the 1980s, the claims of the two Chiang administrations in Taiwan resembled that of the Chinese. In the first half of the 1990s when Lee Teng-Hui served his first term of presidency in Taiwan, Taipei still based its claims on the historical rights arguments and promoted joint development as an important policy goal. In the second half of the 1990s, cross-strait relations turned sour when relevant talks were halted. This adversely affected emerging cross-strait joint development cooperation talks. The revival of governmental attention and policy interests took place after the incumbent President Ma Ying-Jeou obtained the power in 2008. Returning to the old stance long upheld by the KMT, Taiwan continues to face the challenges in earning more space in international negotiation forums of the dispute. It faces a key dilemma of how to secure a position by distinguishing its claims from those of the Chinese, and the outcome of such clarification with a referential implication of Taiwan’s independence.


Democratic Progressive Party Historical Water Historical Claim Peaceful Settlement Territorial Claim 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beukel, E. (2010). China and the South China Sea: Two Faces of Power in the Rising China’s Neighbourhood Policy. Danish Institute of International Studies Working Paper.Google Scholar
  2. Chen, H.-J. (2003). The Assessment of the Sovereign Dispute and the Republic of China’s Policy toward the South China Sea: An International Law Perspective. Master’s thesis, National Chengchi University.Google Scholar
  3. China Legal Service. (25 February 1992). Law on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone of People’s Republic of China. Article 2. Retrieved 28 November 2013, from First, the national laws of the Macao SAR:–1992–02-25&catid=54:2010–03-08–17-58–09&Itemid=137Google Scholar
  4. Fu, K. (1980). anhai de Zhuquan yu Quangcang: Lishi yu Falv [Sovereign Rights and Mineral Resources of the South China Sea: A Historical and Legal Perspective]. Taipei: Youth Press.Google Scholar
  5. Fu, K. (1994). Woguo Nanhai Lishixing Shuiyu yu Qizhong Daojiao zhi Falvdiwei [The Legal Status of Historical Waters and Islands in the South China Sea]. Review of Social Sciences (42), 149–183.Google Scholar
  6. Hille, K. (6 2008). cpc Hopes to Revive Ties with cnooc. Retrieved 10 March 2014, from Financial Times:–1b86–11dd-9e58–0000779fd2ac.html#axzz2vWgycnsf.Google Scholar
  7. Hsiao, L. R. (2011). Taiwan Pivots in the South China Sea. China Brief, XI(11), 1–2.Google Scholar
  8. Hsiao, R. a.-P. (2012). Taiwan Rebalances in the Near Seas. China Brief, XII(16), 9–12.Google Scholar
  9. Hsu, B. (22 December 2000). President Chen visits Pratas Islands for first time. Retrieved 6 March 2014, from Taipei Times: Scholar
  10. ICG (International Crisis Group). (July 2012). Stirring Up the South China Sea (II): Regional Responses. Retrieved 28 November 2013, from International Crisis Group, Asia Report, Nº229: Scholar
  11. Kan, S., & Morrison, W. (2013). US-Taiwan Relations: Overview of Policy Issues. Congressional Research Service Report, R-41952.Google Scholar
  12. Li, J., & Li, D. (2003). The Dotted Line on the Chinese Map of the South China Sea: A Note. Ocean Development & International Law, 34, 87–295.Google Scholar
  13. Liang, F., Wei, W., & Yimin, Z. (2010). Liangan Nanhai Xiefang Lishi [The History of Cross-Strait Cooperation in the South China Sea]. Forums of World Economics and Politics, 4, 2–4.Google Scholar
  14. Lin, C. Y. (1997). Taiwan’s South China Sea Policy. Asian Survey, 37(4), 323–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lin, C. Y. (2008). Taiwan’s Spratlys Initiative in the South China Sea. China Brief, 8(4).Google Scholar
  16. Lin, C., & Song, Y. (2006). Nanhai Qingshi yu Woguo Yingyou de Waijiaoguofang Zhanlue [Developments of the South China Sea and the Corresponding Foreign Policy and National Security Policies]. Research, Development and Evaluation CommissionPolicy Research Report.Google Scholar
  17. Mu, L. (2012). Nanhai: Liangan Xiefang Hezuo Shifou Kexing [The South China Sea: A Feasible Assessment of Cross-Strait Cooperation]. Shijiezhishi [World Knowledge], 11, 1–3.Google Scholar
  18. Nordhaug, K. (1999). Taiwan and the South China Sea Conflict: The China Connection Revisited. Retrieved 30 November 2013, from Paper presented to a Workshop on the Conflict in the South China Sea, Oslo, Norway, 24–26 April: Scholar
  19. Ring, A. H. (July 2012). A U.S. South China Sea Perspective: Just Over the Horizon. Retrieved 28 November 2013, from Research Papers, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in Harvard University: Scholar
  20. Singh, T. (2012). South China Sea: Emerging Security Architecture. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies Special Report 132.Google Scholar
  21. Song, Y. (2000). The Policy of the Democratic Progressive Party Government of the South China Sea Issues. Journal of the Taiwan New Century Foundation, 10, 89–101.Google Scholar
  22. Sun, K.-M. (1995). The Republic of China Tightens Its Grip on the Spratlys. L.S.I. Professional Newsletter, 39, 7.Google Scholar
  23. Sun, K.-M. (1996). The Republic of China’s Policy toward the South China Sea: A Review. Issues & Studies, 32(3), 40–54.Google Scholar
  24. Sung, R. C. (2012). Chinese Claims in the South China Sea: With a Reference to Historical Arguments. Paper presented at the annual meeting for the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law. Taipei, 8th December.Google Scholar
  25. Trang, P. T. (2009). Eastern Sea Disputes and United States’ Interests. Issues & Insights, 9(13), 1–29.Google Scholar
  26. Tsai, Z., & Lin, W. (2001). Nanhai Qingshi Fanzhan duiwoguo Guojia Anquan he Waijiaoguanxi de Yingxiang [Developments of the South China Sea Disputes and the Implications to National Security and Foreign Relations of the Republic of China]. National Policy Foundation Policy Research Report.Google Scholar
  27. Xinhua. (26 December 2008). Chinese Mainland’s cnooc Signs Oil Agreements with Taiwan’s cpc Corp. Retrieved 10 March 2014, from Xinhuanet:–12/26/content_10563970.htm.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations