News / Asia

China Says Geology Boosts Island Claims

China is attempting to bolster its claim to the Senkaku/Diayou Islands, which are also claimed by Japan.
China is attempting to bolster its claim to the Senkaku/Diayou Islands, which are also claimed by Japan.
In an attempt to bolster its claims to disputed islands in the East China Sea, China has presented the United Nations what it says is geological evidence proving the islands belong to Beijing.

Lianzeng Chen, the deputy head of China’s State Oceanic Administration, submitted the claim December 13, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

He said Beijing has the right to claim the undersea continental shelf beyond the normal 200 nautical miles because it is a “natural prolongation” of China's land territory into the East China Sea. This claim would include the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands claimed by both China and Japan.

According to Xinhua, Chen said the geological characteristics of the continental shelf in the East China Sea differ greatly from those of the Okinawa Trough to the east, and accordingly, the trough should be seen as the end of China’s continental shelf.

Jacques deLisle, a University of Pennsylvania law professor and expert on Chinese law, said Beijing is taking a new approach to an old dispute.

“This is yet another salvo in China's contentious maritime territorial disputes with its neighbors in the East and South China Seas,” he said.

Japan’s newly elected prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has been adamant that the Senkaku/Diayou Islands belong to Japan.

DeLisle said the underlying, but not binding, legal principle for disputes like this is that coastal states get a continental shelf of 200 nautical miles, and in some cases, another 150 nautical miles if there's a natural prolongation and no conflicting claims. But there are two caveats, he said.

First is that a longer shelf is permissible when the shelf is part of a "natural prolongation," in a geological or topological sense. In other words, if you drained the ocean, the resulting land would be roughly the same altitude of the landmass.

The second exception comes when two countries have less than 400 nautical miles between their coasts. In that case, dividing the distance equally is a normal, though not fully mandatory, principle for allocating overlapping claims, according to deLisle.

“As all of this suggests, there are a few problems preventing easy or quick resolution,” he said, adding that the application of any principles “depends on some rather technical calls and iffy judgments such as what features are natural prolongation and what are not.”

According to Xinhua, no ruling by the U.N. should be expected soon as “continental shelf demarcation involves complicated scientific and technological problems” and there are many such claims before the body. The report added that any delays would not affect China’s claim.

In addition to the East China Sea, China is involved in several territorial disputes in the South China Sea, including claims to the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands, the Pratas Islands, the Macclesfield Bank, and the Scarborough Shoal.

The islands are highly coveted because of suspected large reserves of oil, natural gas, minerals and fisheries in the surrounding waters.

China’s assertive strategy toward the disputed territories, including establishing a military garrison on one of the Spratly Islands, has led to increased tensions with its neighbors.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Negashabi from: Canada
December 25, 2012 4:53 PM
sorry there is a typo in my last comment:

"Vietnam invaded Cambodia and legally and brutally treated Vietnam Chinese in 1960s-1970s" should be "illegally and brutally " .Thanks.


by: Negashabi from: Canada
December 25, 2012 2:17 PM
Wangchuk and Sengupta, etc:
Your comments showed your ignorance and prejudice. You guys didn’t even know the history of Diaoyu island (Senkaku islands by Japanese). Even Diaoyu island is controlled by US and Japan now, it is NOT Japanese territory as said by Sengupta, US only allow Japan has administration, NOT sovereignty, because US government knew Diaoyu islands are part of China in terms of Potsdam Declaration and Cario declaration of WWII, US and Japan are allies, why US only transferred administration to Japan in 1970, NOT sovereignty (this issue led to wide protest in Mainland China, Hongkong and Taiwan at that time because US transferred administration of Diaoyu island to Japan without participation of mainland China, Hongkong and Taiwan) if Diaoyu island is really a territory of Japan, why Japan only has administration now? In fact, Japan robbed Diaoyu islands from China in 1895 and didn't follow WWII declaration to return Diaoyu island to China because of cold war after WWII.

Vietnam, India deserved some lessons, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and legally and brutally treated Vietnam Chinese in 1960s-1970s and robbed their properties and forced them to leave in 1960s-1970s. India invaded and crossed China border in 1962 and China just fought back. BY the way, India invaded China together with British army in early 20th. China were invaded many times in the past 200 years by other countries including by Japan. Could you guy try to be knowledgeable for issues related to China and show a bit democracy and hear different voice before your prejudice and ignorant comments.
For God’s sake


by: Jane from: U.S.
December 21, 2012 1:46 PM
Since, geologically, we at one time were one large continent before it broke up about 250 million yrs. ago....then, geologically, the U.S. could then claim that the British Isles were 'part of the U.S. ...since the mountain ranges of our NE coast line match the same material as those of N. Scotland!........this could be said of many countries and islands and countries across the world ....what a ridiculous claim!


by: Wangchuk from: NYC
December 21, 2012 10:06 AM
China's claims to the entire East China Sea and Arunachal Pradesh in India are examples of PRC hegemonism. The CCP views China as the Middle Kingdom & wants to be the sole superpower in Asia. The PRC invaded Tibet in 1950, India in 1962 and attacked Vietnam in 1979. They even claim part of what is now North Korea. Asian nations should stand together, w/ the help of the USA, to stop Chinese imperialism.


by: Hoa Minh Truong from: Australia
December 21, 2012 7:12 AM
China can claim themselves all the world belongs to them, recently they claimed the moon's ownership, that base on a fairy tale. If a day, the Hell has oil, China will say a firs monk came to there for visit his mother, that also bases on the Buddha story...The world couldn't trust any China claims, they apply a saying of French:" La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleurs" ( the powerful people speech is never wrong). Unfortunately, nowadays, China can't do as an once upon a time.
Hoa Minh Truong.
( author of 3 books: the dark journey, good evening Vietnam & from laborer to author)


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 20, 2012 8:08 AM
It's clear when we would like to come true our desire, we should compromize each other when the desire is also our neighbor's desire. Making an arbitrary decision with putting through, quibbling, and dogmatism wouldn't help opponents consent. Chinese leaders should become more democratic so that they could accept diverse interests among international societies. That is the very shortcut China actually could come true its desire finally.


by: Igor from: Russia
December 20, 2012 4:43 AM
According to China's absurd theory, China today should belong to Russian continent. Those who are educated and have common sense cannot stand the stunned reasoning of "the Pirate State of China" any longer! Ha ha ha...


by: Sengupta from: India
December 20, 2012 12:34 AM
PRC is always egocentric and outrageous. What PRC claims regarding Senkaku islands (Japanese territories) is based on its ignorance. It must learn Convention on the Law of the Sea.


by: Khmerkrom from: Preynokor
December 19, 2012 10:08 PM
This is the greed of Chinese, they will not only claim the territories around their country but also to the whole world step-by-step, they will say the world belongs to China. It is time for the countries in dispute with the crazy China to unite to fight back the expansionist Chinese communist. In the past, the Communist claimed that America is empiricism but in actual sense, only the communist propaganda. Shame on you, the greedy Chinese.


by: emenot from: hongkong
December 19, 2012 1:51 PM
What does geology geography have to do with this land grab? If according to their principle, they can also claim Russia, Vietnam and all their bordering sovereign neighbors as their. This is just silly!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid