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Challenges Facing Taiwan in the South China Sea

By: Ian Easton |

In principle, Taiwan’s sovereignty claims and territorial holdings in the South China Sea should be viewed by the U.S. as an asset. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been able to exploit the fundamentally flawed bilateral relationship between Washington and Taipei to convince many observers that Taiwan has no positive role to play in the dispute. This paper will examine the many challenges facing Taiwan in the South China Sea. It will first lay out some of the reasons why the South China Sea matters to Taiwan’s interests. Next, it will assess the PRC threat to Taiwanese interests at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of analysis. Finally, the paper will conclude with an outline of areas where the U.S. and Taiwan could cooperate to impose costs on PRC expansionism and better ensure regional peace and stability.

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