High resolution planktic foraminifer fauna assemblage data are used to reconstruct the millennial-scale sea surface temperature (SST) variability of the past 40000 years at an IMAGES core site (MD012404) in the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea (ECS). The fauna assemblages in core MD012404 are dominated by five species - Globigerinoides ruber, Globigerina bulloides, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, and Globigerinita glutinata, which account for > 70% in relative abundance. Our Q-mode factor analysis decomposed the fauna abundance data into three factors, which indicate cold water mass, warm water mass, and possibly coastal water flow with low salinity in the ECS. The MD012404 fauna data show abrupt changes at ~16 kya, suggesting a return to a warmer climate or warm water intrusion of the Kuroshio into the Okinawa Trough since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). SST estimates based on the fauna assemblages of planktic foraminifers indicate a LGM cooling of 1 - 2°C. Amaximum cooling by 3 - 4°C is observed in episodic, millennial-scale events in the glacial stages of the record. The SST record displays variability that closely tracks the structure of oxygen isotopes of stalagmites from Hulu Cave and ice cores from GISP 2 Dansgaard/Oeschger cycles and Heinrich events. Low salinity in the ECS is inferred based on MD012404 fauna SST and planktic foraminifer oxygen isotope records for the cold millennial-scale intervals, pointing to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and/or East Asian monsoon as important factors driving SST and salinity in the subtropical western Pacific, both on orbital and suborbital time scales.