ENN Issue 9a
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ENN Issue 6c
Tensions Rise in Pacific

China Lays Claim to Taiwan Territorial Waters

December 10, 2009

Taiwan Chine mapTAIPEI (ENN) -- In a bold and surprising move, China's Central Committee declared an expansion of its Exclusive Economic Zone to now encompass all of Taiwan's current territorial waters.  

This has caused outrage both in Taipei as well as in the U.S. as it clearly ignores Taiwan's rights to its own coastal waters.  China has countered however, saying that this action only exercises its right to secure the waters surrounding all of its territory, which according to China, includes Taiwan. 

"This action can only bring about conflicts between our two commercial fishing fleets and increase hostilities even further between our two countries," the Taiwanese leader said.  What was not said, however, was how damaging "legalized" Chinese poaching could be to Taiwan, especially since Taiwan depends on its fishing fleets to help feed its people. 

Beijing has responded with a "carrot and stick" policy toward Taiwan, by continuing to push forward with the expansion of China's EEZ on the one hand, but offering new incentives for "reunification" with China on the other.  One of these incentives includes the creation of a quasi-independent enclave similar to that of Hong Kong. Rumors have it that while China is offering more "carrots" to Taiwan than ever before, it is also brandishing the "stick" more than ever as well. 

According to military analysts, China has been building up the quality of its army and air forces in recent years, an indicator that the Chinese government is not ruling out the possibility of reunifying with Taiwan by force if necessary.

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