The Beijing government recently challenged the international community when it said, “the Taiwan Straits are not international territorial waters.” At the same time, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also recently declared that China “enjoys sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Straits.” However, the “Indo-Pacific Defense Forum,” a professional military journal run by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, published an article on July 6, rubbishing the CCP’s previous statement that “the Taiwan Straits is an international waterway,” clearly showing the Beijing regime’s duplicity.
According to the general estimate, since 2018, China has commented on transit acts in the Taiwan Straits 38 times but never made a sovereignty claim to the Taiwan Straits, the Indo-Pacific Defense Forum said. Specifically, in November 2015, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the liberal navigation operation of the USS Lassen in the East Sea was “executed in an international waterway wide enough for this U.S. ship.”
In January 2017, transcripts of a press conference released by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed that Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenhua declared that the Straits was “an international waterway shared between Mainland and Taiwan.”
In 2019, Mainland media quoted Dr. Bai Chun, a China National Defense University professor, saying: “There is a section of sea in the middle of the Taiwan Straits … warships of all countries can pass through this sea without any problems.”
In October 2021, the Beijing government’s Global Times declared that the middle of the Taiwan Straits is an “international waterway,” and ships of all countries can navigate freely in the area.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Defense Forum pointed out that the current argument of the Beijing regime is to prevent U.S. allies and partners from passing through the waterway. These remarks are consistent with China’s aggressive stance on the Taiwan issue.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement that the CCP’s move was a plot to “internalize Taiwan and internalize the straits.”
The Epoch Times cited the latest report by a researcher from Taiwan’s National Defense Security Research Institute, Li Junyi, as saying that the Beijing government has two purposes for inciting the legal status of the Taiwan Straits:
The first is to “undermine” the U.S. right to speak in “International Law” and the legitimacy of U.S. military activities in the Taiwan Straits.
The second is to “expand” Beijing’s claim to exclusive economic zone (EEZ) jurisdiction and to “develop” a discourse of international law that differs from that of the United States.
Regarding the fallacy in the CCP’s claim that the Taiwan Strait is not international territorial waters, Mr. Li Junyi called on democratic countries to protest and put forward arguments to confront Beijing’s humorous statements directly.
He said that the CCP’s discourse and practice of International Law should also be an area for democratic countries to take action to “reduce” the CCP’s influence and “develop” more related statements.