NIGHTWATCH: Chinese Claim to East China Sea Based on Continental Shelf

Geospatial, Resilience
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China: China has submitted to the United Nations what it calls geological evidence that it contends prove that disputed islands in the East China Sea are Chinese territory

China says its continental shelf extends across to the Okinawa Trough, just off the Japanese island of Okinawa, an area that takes in island territories owned by Japan.

The continental shelf is the relatively gently sloping seabed from the shoreline that ends when the seabed drops off steeply to much greater depths. Waters on the continental shelf are usually around 600 feet at most.

Details of China’s claim are in its presentation Partial Submission Concerning the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles in the East China Sea.

Xinhua the state-run news agency reported Chen Lianzeng, deputy head of China’s State Oceanic Administration, saying geological characteristics show that the continental shelf in the sea is the natural extension of China’s land territory.

Comment: The Chinese submission is an example of legal chicanery as a high art. Japan’s ownership of the islands is by right of conquest and occupation. China’s submission to the UN is based on geology. This is an incongruity. Geology has no standing against physical occupation and administration.

The Chinese are seeking the moral high ground and presenting themselves as victims. In fact, they are manipulating the UN to back-up their assertions of ownership with scientific documentation in a forum that is hostile to the US and US allies. China does not want to administer the Senkakus. It wants to explore and exploit seabed resources. .

Fortunately, Japan has no obligation to comply with any UN determination, which ineluctably would rule against Japan.

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Phi Beta Iota:   It is time for the US Government to break old habits and begin to think constructively.  There are already 200 nautical mile limits on continental shelf claims, but the reality is that the ocean is 75% of the Earth, the primary candidate to provide new potable water, living room, and minerals, and not something we can fight over — freedom of the seas needs to be joined by a new form of maritme collaboration that is foreign to the USA mind-set.  The old rules, where conquest and occupation were “root,” are out the window — unaffordable and unsustainable, particularly when the administrative state loses legitimacy by abusing the peoples of the occupied lands.  This brings forward the rather interesting question: should we be thinking about a new form of national maritime order of battle, one that gives equal weight to the US Navy and US Coast Guart, maritime transport, and maritime commercial exploitation?  Should we be re-orienting our naval vision as shown in the OurGlass (pun intended) Strategy?

See Also:

Xin Hua China to submit outer limits of continental shelf in East China Sea to UN

Continental Shelf Delimitation Beyond 200 Nautical Miles: Approaches Taken by Coastal States before the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf