Newspaper article China Post

America Making a U-Turn over U-Shaped Lines in Disputed Seas

Newspaper article China Post

America Making a U-Turn over U-Shaped Lines in Disputed Seas

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: [...] denotes non-USASCII text omitted)

President Ma Ying-jeou gave a speech at the Exhibition of Historical Archives of the South China Territories of the Republic of China on Sept. 1, which is to last until Oct. 31 in Taipei. It will then move to Taichung and Kaohsiung to remain open until the end of this year.

The Economist, the celebrated news magazine based in London, covered the exhibition. In a new article published in its latest issue, the weekly misinterpreted the remarks on the South China Sea territorial disputes President Ma made in his Sept. 1 speech.

We don't know if the misinterpretation was intentional. The unsigned article says that Taiwan would hugely limit its claim to only Taiping Island, also known as Naga-shima ([...]) during its occupation by the Japanese as a naval base, and the Pratas Islands and to 3-12 nautical miles of their adjacent waters, probably in order to please Uncle Sam.

Taiping, also called Itu Aba, is the largest island of the Spratly Islands, which the Japanese named the Shinnan Gunto ([...]) and placed under the jurisdiction of Takao-shu ([...]) of Japanese-occupied Taiwan. The Coast Guard Administration stations a garrison on the island.

The Economist article says, "On paper, Taiwan's claim is identical to that of China, whose assertion of sovereignty over most of the sea, within a vast mysterious U-shaped line around its edges, has alarmed its neighbours [...] What is more, Taiwan elucidation of its claim is a setback for China."

It then goes on to claim Ma's intervention pleases the United States. Quoting Bonie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the article says the Americans have been secretly urging Ma to clarify what his government meant when it drew up the map, the hope being that this would put pressure on China to spell out and even modify its own stance.

There is one more quote from Glaser. She says the American request put Ma and his aides in an extremely uncomfortable position. China insists that Taiwan is part of its territory, and one of the last vestiges of the fiction that there is but one China is Taiwan's adherence to China's sweeping territorial claim. …

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