An informal China-Taiwan dialogue of eight years ended after Tsai took office in May on a public mandate to be more cautious toward Beijing. China had also “refrained from harassing” Taiwanese fishermen at that time, said Jonathan Spangler, director of the Taipei-based South China Sea Think Tank.
He added that contact with other countries at sea “could give Beijing reason to intervene in a way that would be detrimental to Taiwan’s interests.”
From interview transcript:
“For Taiwan’s South China Sea policy, its relationship with China is a double-edged sword. On one hand, China has refrained from harassing Taiwanese fishing boats operating in the maritime area, so it could be said that they receive a sort of exceptional treatment compared to fishermen from other claimant states. On the other hand, Taiwan’s maritime law enforcement options are limited because any encounters with other countries could give Beijing reason to intervene in a way that would be detrimental to Taiwan’s interests.”