Published : 2013-08-17 13:04
Updated : 2013-08-17 13:05
China has submitted a claim to a U.N. commission stating that its naturally extended continental shelf stretches to the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea, state media reported Saturday, a move that could rekindle territorial spats with South Korea and Japan.
South Korea, China and Japan have separately claimed the Okinawa Trough, with part of Seoul's recent claim overlapping with China's. Seoul and Beijing, however, share a largely similar stance on defining the limits while being in discord with Japan, according to Seoul officials.
China on Thursday "presented its position to a U.N. commission for the first time on the demarcation of the outer continental shelf in the East China Sea," the state-run China Daily reported, referring to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).
Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration, told the daily that the presentation showed through scientific evidence that the continental shelf of the East China Sea extends eastward to the Okinawa Trough.
Another Chinese official told the daily that the presentation was made with scientific evidence.
"We presented China's position and scientific evidence, and strengthened the fact that the continental shelf of the East China Sea extends naturally," the daily quoted Li Jiabiao, deputy head of the Second Institute of Oceanography, as saying.
Early this year, South Korea sent a diplomatic letter to the U.N. commission dismissing Japan's opposition to Seoul's claim that its naturally extended continental shelf stretches to the Okinawa Trough.
According to the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, coastal nations can claim an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from their shores. In the EEZ, a country is eligible for exclusive rights to the exploration and use of marine resources.
The continental shelf in the East China Sea is believed to be rich in natural gas and oil deposits.
The CLCS typically puts forth recommendations after a three-month, non-regulated review of the information submitted by each country, and its decision is not legally binding. (YONHAP)