The South China Sea Controversy: Solved

There's been a lot of controversy about the South China Sea recently with all the artificial islands that everyone and his brother are building there. One approach might be to let Taiwan tackle the issue. The reason? According to the very claimants themselves, if we let Taiwan be in charge, everyone will end up getting a piece of them anyway and the problem will be solved. China, for instance, claims Taiwan as its own territory, so if we respect China's claim to Taiwan, and Taiwan takes over all the islands, it's still China that's governing them, right?

In other words, I say to the world: let China continue to build artificial islands in the South China Sea, but let it renounce ownership and hand them over to Taiwan. This way China can show the world how confident it is in its claim over Taiwan. If it hands its islands over to Taiwan now, it's basically saying: we are so sure that Taiwan will someday be ours again, we can let Taiwan be our proxy now.

In this way, China can appease the U.S., too. With Taiwan as its proxy -- since Taiwan is a U.S. ally and part of the U.S. security network -- the U.S. can relax and believe, for the moment at least, that an utterly friendly ally is in charge. China paranoia will die down.

If you look at it still another way, according to its history, the people of Taiwan have inherited a culture with Chinese roots, an overlay of Japanese influence (1895-1945), Dutch, Portuguese, American and Austro-Melanesian influence. Even for those Chinese who arrived on the island in 1949, they've lived there long enough to have absorbed at least some of these conflicting cultural strands.

So, if you divide up all the people of Taiwan according to their cultures, they already embody within themselves many of the major claimants to the South China Seas. So I again say, let them spread out and occupy the South China Seas -- and that way everyone, or nearly everyone, will be represented.

On the other hand, if all this is too complicated, you could always turn the South China Sea into another Antarctica, where resources are guaranteed to everyone but military bases are forbidden. That's at least a precedent.