Taiwan Asserts Island Claim in Philippines’s South China Sea Hague Case


A private group in Taiwan has filed to intervene in a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, asserting that at least one territory in the South China Sea belongs to neither the Philippines nor China, but to the “Republic of China,” Taiwan.

The Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law has filed an intervening submission, asserting they have a solid argument that Itu Aba, part of the Spratly Islands, does not belong to any of the parties to the case at the Hague, but it is rightfully an island of Taiwan.

The court has accepted the submission and is reviewing the claim, which asserts not only that the territory belongs to Taiwan, but that Itu Aba is legally an island with the right to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) within it maritime borders. The Philippines is arguing that Itu Aba is a “rock” and therefore not entitled to such privileges in the South China Sea. Vietnam also claims Itu Aba as its own.

The Chinese government claims most of the South China Sea, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands. The territory China has unilaterally taken over includes areas within the borders of the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia, and borders Natuna Island, an Indonesian territory. Among the contested areas of the Spratlys are Fiery Cross Reef and Johnson South Reef, home to a number of new Chinese constructions its neighbors say are illegal.