Regarding the issue of maritime search and rescue, this study first introduced the mechanism or resources of maritime search, legal restrictions, the impacts of political factors and solutions, and rescue cases between Taiwan and China. It further explores the possibilities of across-strait coordinating mechanism of maritime search and rescue in the South China Sea.
It is believed that the South China Sea holds huge oil and gas reserves beneath its seabed. Since “The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” was effective on November 1994, several countries around the South China Sea claimed its own 200 miles exclusive economic zone over this area and regional disputes had being persistent. However, a few agreements between Taiwan and China have been signed since 2008, relations across the Taiwan Straits eased gradually. Although the sovereignty dispute still exists, both Taiwan and China have come to an agreement on the universal value of humanitarian search and rescue. Rescue workers in Taiwan and China have worked together in a few marine casualties or incidents occurred in Taiwan Strait, East China Sea or South China Sea. This is complying with the view of neo-functionalism of integration theory, a theoretical approach used in this study to further explore the possibilities of across-strait coordinating mechanism of maritime search and rescue in the South China Sea
This study suggests that: (1) Both Taiwan and China should put aside the sovereignty disputes, implement maritime search and rescue drills in the South China Sea, create mutual radio communication channel and official hotline based on the universal value of humanitarian search and rescue. (2) The government of Taiwan should take an active role to participate in different regional organizations of South China Sea, to establish diplomatic relations and partnerships with countries around the area. (3) As the mechanism of maritime search and rescue is regarded, an overall plan, official rescue team, professional rescue ship and air rescue service are needed in Taiwan. Meanwhile, both Taiwan and China should amend the mutual rescue regulations, reward policies and manage the information systems to enhance the rescue efforts.