Is the US advocating a ‘two-state theory’ in South China Sea?


The US secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, has said the US will continue to patrol the South China Sea and fly across the Spratly reefs occupied by China as international waters. It’s clear that the US has determined to push for the “two-state theory” in the region.

The US has always tried to avoid touching the issue of Taiwan being part of the South China Sea disputes, allowing only comments from retired officials who demand Taiwan clarify the meaning of the U-curved line in the region — which overlaps with China’s nine-dash line — and request Taiwan’s territorial claims follow the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea. They also requested Taiwan not to claim sovereignty over islands that it doesn’t occupy.

Tsai Ing-wen, the presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, on May 26 said that if elected she would not give up Taiping Island, the largest natural island in the Spratlys. President Ma Ying-jeou on the same day unveiled his South China Sea Peace Initiative, emphasizing Taiping should continue to allow human residence.

China has occupied seven reefs in the Spratlys, all less than 200 nautical miles from Taiping. Beijing can make recourse to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to claim the legality of reclaiming new land on the reefs. China claims sovereignty over all of the Spratlys but the US does not accept China’s claims to islands that it does not occupy. In addition to China and Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have outposts in the island chain.


Read more: