World View: Taiwan May Reverse South China Sea Policy and Oppose China


There is one and only one country in the entire world that agrees with and supports all of China’s legal claims in the South China Sea. That country is Taiwan, though China says that Taiwan is not a country, but only a rogue province of China that will return to Chinese control as soon as possible.

For the last few years, Taiwan has been governed by the pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) party, which favors the “one China” principle and unification with mainland China, and which has fully supported all of China’s claims in the South China Sea.

But Taiwan is about to hold new elections on January 16, and the KMT party is expected to lose to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Of Taiwan’s two major political parties, China has always been very friendly with KMT, and very hostile with DPP. China has frequently threatened military action if Taiwan’s leaders take any political steps towards independence from China, and those threats have almost always been directed at the DPP.

From a generational point of view, the supporters of the KMT are mostly older generations, including the remaining survivors of Mao Zedong’s bloody Communist Revolution civil war that climaxed in 1949. The supporters of DPP tend to be in the younger generations who have no personal memories of the Communist Revolution, and who are increasingly distant from mainland China as the years go by. As the older generations die off, Taiwan’s people are likely to support independence more and more each year, which could well trigger a military invasion China.

China has been annexing regions in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to other countries, and continues to use belligerent military operations to enforce its seizures. China has claimed the entire South China Sea, including regions historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. China’s claims are rejected by almost everyone outside of China, and China refuses to submit them to the United Nations court deciding such matters, apparently knowing that they would lose.

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