- South China Sea Tensions Surge After Taiwan Deploys Frigate, China Warns Of “Air Defense Zone”
by Tyler Durden, www.zerohedge.com
Following the much anticipated ruling by the international court which found yesterday that China does not have a right to claims on the South China Sea, an unexpected supporter for China’s position – which has vocally warned it won’t comply with the tribunal’s ruling – emerged overnight when Taiwan, which shares territorial claims with China in the disputed area – sent a naval frigate to patrol the disputed waterway Wednesday, to show the government’s “determination” to defend its national interest.
The order from Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen came just hours after the Permanent Court of Arbitration found found that the largest natural feature in the contested Spratly Islands, the Taiwanese-held Itu Aba, was a “rock” rather than an island and didn’t qualify for a 200-nautical mile (370 kilometer) exclusive economic zone. The frigate’s planned patrol included a resupply stop at the feature, which Taiwan calls Taiping, a defense ministry spokesman said.
As Bloomberg writes, confirming what we said yesterday after the tribunal’s ruling, the decision to deploy the warship could further escalate tensions in the area. China has said it doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Overnight, China firmly rejected the verdict claiming its ruling on the South China Sea is both “null and void” with no binding force. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Tuesday called the South China Sea arbitration a political farce made under the pretext of law.
As a reminder, the ruling, resulting from a challenge brought by the Philippines, invalidated China’s “nine-dash line” claim. China’s assertions cross over with those from countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and are based on a map created by Taiwan’s Republic of China government in 1947. Taiwan has administered Itu Aba since the 1950s.