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14th Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea Issue held in Haikou

2017-04-06 11:12:37       source:NISCSS

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On 25 August 2016, the 14th Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea Issue is held in Haikou. Under the theme of “Award of South China Sea Arbitration: Challenges and Cooperation Facing Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations”, the forum lasts two days and brings together nearly eighty experts, scholars and journalists from Chinese mainland and Taiwan. The five panels include: “Award of South China Sea Arbitration: Legal Perspective”, “Award of South China Sea Arbitration:: Diplomatic and Security Perspective”, “Award of South China Sea Arbitration: Impact on Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations”, “South China Sea Arbitration and Cross-Taiwan Strait Cooperation” and “Outlook on Joint Responses to South China Sea Arbitration”.

 

NISCSS President Wu Shicun and Executive Director Fu-Kuo Liu of the Center for Security Studies at Taiwan Chengchi University deliver keynote speeches.

 

As President Wu points out, the award will exert multiple negative influences on the rights and claims of Chinese mainland and Taiwan, including undermining sovereignty and historical rights based on the nine-dashed line, fragmentizing maritime jurisdiction and posing challenges to future efforts to develop hydrocarbon resources, protecting fishing activities, and promulgating possible baselines of the Nansha Islands. Wu also remarks that the negative influences of the award are common challenges to both sides of Taiwan Strait, but it may be used as a chance by Tsai Ing-wen to clarify her South China Sea policy and separate herself from Chinese mainland’s position on the South China Sea. Tsai’s future South China Sea policy may separate itself from Chinese mainland, follow the suit of the US and Japan, curry favor with the ASEAN, and seek Taiwan’s independence. Wu suggests that in order to prevent a possible sharp regression of Tsai’s policy and rise above challenges posed by the arbitration, we should keep academic exchanges, maintain current mechanisms, focus on arbitration, abide by times and take appropriate measures. 

 

As Professor Liu points out, though the arbitration procedure has come to a close, its security and diplomatic implications have been growingly conspicuous and relevant countries will take more high-profile actions to challenge the South China Sea claims of both sides of Taiwan Strait. Tsai’s policy stances put more emphasis on multilateral mechanisms and will result in further marginalization of Taiwan in South China Sea issues. Liu suggests that over the years, academic exchange has been playing an important role in safeguarding maritime rights in the South China Sea and that scholars from both sides of Taiwan Strait should focus on important topics, conduct constructive discussion and cooperation, build consensus, make common progress in South China Sea studies, offer feasible suggestions for decision makers and highlight cooperative postures.

 

The participants agree that the award will pose legal, security and diplomatic challenges to both sides of Taiwan Strait and that Tsai’s regression in South China Sea policy will affect the joint efforts to counter the negative influences of the award. They appeal that Tsai’s authorities should attach importance to protecting Chinese sovereignty and maritime rights, and maintain academic exchanges to create conditions for joint protection of rights in the South China Sea.

 

This forum comes when cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges are impeded by Tsai’s authorities and after the arbitral tribunal gave an award unfavorable to the South China Sea claims and rights of both sides of Taiwan Strait. The topics include the South China Sea arbitration, cross-Taiwan Strait relations and other hot issues. This forum will play a special and important role in promoting cross-Taiwan Strait relations and cooperation.

 

The Cross-Strait Forum on the South China Sea Issue was initiated by the NISCSS and the Institute of International Relations of Taiwan Chengchi University in 2002. It is held alternately in Hainan and Taiwan, and is designed to facilitate exchanges among experts and scholars specializing in South China Sea studies, strengthen academic exchanges, and promote cooperation in South China Sea studies. Thirteen forums have been held so far and have been well welcomed from both sides of Taiwan Strait.

 

By the sidelines, Wu was interviewed by Global Times, Shenzhen TV and Shanghai Dragon TV on the influences of the award on South China Sea situation and possible joint responses from both sides of Taiwan Strait.