Sovereignty as the Axis of State-Making: the Re-sovereignisation of the Republic of China/Taiwan’s South China Sea Claim

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Law, National University of Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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This article proposes to repostulate the sovereignty-statehood complex of the Republic of China (roc/Taiwan)—namely, the dynamism between its full-fledged sovereign capability and its indeterminate statehood—by using a critical-constructivist approach. To counter legal textualism and rigidity, a three-phase approach is developed to address the under-theorisation of this issue by analysing (1) the establishment of a modern nation-state governance system, (2) identifying the national of the nation-state polity, and (3) obtaining democratic authorisation of its sovereign practice. Therefore, a state should not be considered a static edifice but an ongoing process, fraught with re-instantiations of sovereign exercises via consistent practices, through which criteria of statehood can be re-contemplated and refined. The roc/Taiwan’s South China Sea claim thus effectively demonstrates that its re-sovereignisation remains unaccomplished and has produced a stalemate that substantially impacts the roc/Taiwan’s ongoing state-making efforts.

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