Tag: Itu Aba Island

South China Sea Lawfare: Post-Arbitration Policy Options and Future Prospects

Report · 2017

Download the report: South China Sea Lawfare (2017)

On July 12, 2016, the Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration case issued its Award, officially bringing closure to the arbitral proceedings initiated by the Philippines against China in early 2013. In the Award, the Tribunal’s conclusions overwhelmingly supported the Philippines’ positions regarding almost all of the fifteen submissions in its Memorial. The Tribunal also rejected or opted not to take into account the vast majority of China’s positions as elaborated through official statements and was similarly not persuaded by arguments issued or evidence presented by Taiwan.

The Award, especially due to relevant countries’ policy responses and the enduring controversy over its content, has significant implications for the South China Sea maritime territorial disputes, which remain one of the most potent and complex issues affecting stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. In the post-arbitration context, rival claimants and major stakeholders have been forced to recalibrate their rhetoric, strategies, and policies in order to safeguard their interests and rights in the maritime area while maintaining an image internationally that is conducive to achieving these aims.

This report, entitled South China Sea Lawfare: Post-Arbitration Policy Options and Future Prospects, builds upon the success of the first South China Sea Lawfare report that was published in early 2016. By bringing together an international team of experts writing on the different approaches of each claimant and stakeholder, it aims to serve as a more inclusive reference on post-arbitration South China Sea policy issues than the many other analyses published in the aftermath of the Award.

In Part I: Introduction, the report begins by giving a brief overview of the arbitral proceedings in historical perspective and summarizing the legal positions of the parties involved and the Tribunal’s conclusions as described in its two awards. In Part II: Rival Claimants and Part III: Major Stakeholders, the chapters focus on (1) the specific policy approaches of each country or actor; (2) the implications of the Award for each; (3) the legal, diplomatic, and security policy options available to them; and (4) their future prospects in the post-arbitration context of the South China Sea. In Part IV: Conclusion, the report explores the implications of the Award for international maritime law and the future of maritime territorial disputes. By encouraging and compiling a diversity of views on the South China Sea, the editors hope that this report will serve over the coming years as a resource for policymakers, a foundation for future research, and an example of constructive international collaboration in the midst of the disputes.

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What islands does Taiwan occupy in the South China Sea?

Taiwan, or the Coast Guard of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, occupies Itu Aba (Taiping) Island and regularly patrols the nearby Zhongzhou Reef. Both of these features are located along the northern edge of the Tizard Bank in the Spratly Islands. After first occupying Itu Aba (Taiping) Island temporarily beginning on December 12, 1946, the ROC has maintained a continuous presence there since July 1956.

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Taiping Island’s Legal Status: Questions Remain in the Aftermath of the Award

Issue Briefings, 16 · 2016

Far from making progress towards a South China Sea dispute settlement, the Award in the Philippines v. China arbitration case has all but ensured that debate will continue. In particular, the Tribunal’s controversial conclusions regarding Itu Aba (Taiping) Island’s legal status may have already reduced the effectiveness and perceived validity of the Award.

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Philippines v. China Arbitration Case: Official Responses to the Award

Features · 2016

South China Sea Think Tank compiles the official responses of claimants and major stakeholders to the Award of July 12, 2016, in the Philippines v. China arbitration case.

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Philippines v. China Arbitration Case: Summary of the Philippines’ Submissions and Tribunal’s Awards

Features · 2016

South China Sea Think Tank summarizes the Philippines’ submissions and additional claims, the Tribunal’s conclusions contained in its Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, and its conclusions made in its final Award in the Philippines v. China arbitration case.

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South China Sea Lawfare: Legal Perspectives and International Responses to the Philippines v. China Arbitration Case

Report · 2016

As tensions in the South China Sea have risen, the Philippines v. China arbitration case and the Philippines’ decision, after many years of unsuccessful bilateral negotiations, to engage in lawfare have become a focal point of the maritime territorial disputes, leading many state and non-state actors to become increasingly involved in and vocal about South China Sea issues. The controversial nature of the issue has resulted in a proliferation of heated diplomatic and military interactions and, in many instances, hindered meaningful cooperation between relevant stakeholders. This report, as the result of a collaborative effort between authors from ten countries, aims to serve as an example of constructive international cooperation on South China Sea issues in the midst of heightened regional tensions.

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Keeping Balance: Taiwan’s Answer to Tensions in the South China Sea

Issue Briefings, 13 · 2016

In the face of mounting challenges in the South China Sea, Taiwan must carefully consider its options and respond accordingly in order to defend sovereignty over its occupied features and maintain a role of peacemaker in the region.

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Interview with Richard Hu: Transitioning Taiwan’s Armed Forces in the South China Sea

Perspectives, 4 · 2015

The South China Sea Think Tank interviews Maj. Gen. Richard Hu about the possibility of transitioning the ROC forces stationed on Taiping Island from Coast Guard to military.

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