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China's South and East China Seas claims

Introdution to Contemporary China module, School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham, presented on 29 October 2013
by

Michal Thim

on 6 October 2014

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Transcript of China's South and East China Seas claims

China's territorial claims in South and East China Seas
Structure
China's territorial claims
Sea and international law
China and South China Sea
China and East China Sea
Implications for China's foreign policy
International law
Prior to United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982
After the adoption of UNCLOS (1982, 1994)
South China Sea Dispute
East China Sea
Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute
Prior to UNCLOS
Territorial waters extended to 3 nautical miles (nm) from the coast (3nm ~ 5km)
The rest was 'high seas' and freedom of the seas was the guiding principle
Under the UNCLOS
Entry into force in 1994, today 157 signatories, incl. China, excl. the US
Extends territorial waters to 12nm
Exclusive Economic Zone as a zone within which states have jurisdiction over the natural resources (fisheries, hydrocarbon resources)
Sea under the UNCLOS

China and India
Taiwan
China has number of minor territorial disputes with...
Pakistan
Vietnam
Laos
Bhutan
and other neighbors mostly due to lack of previous agreement on the border delimitation
AND some major territorial disputes...
Whose claim?
China
Vietnam
Philippines
Malaysia
Brunei
Taiwan (Republic of China)
Indonesia
China's claim
Other claims
Arguments
China argues from the position of historical claims and uses UNCLOS to 'modernize' its claim
Other claimants support their claims on the mix of historical and legal (Vietnam, Philippines) or just legal positions (Brunei, Malaysia, Indoesia)
China and the U.S.
China has restrictive interpretation of UNCLOS
U.S. supports traditional concept of the freedom of navigation
U.S. treaty commitments to the Philippines
Negotiations
The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (2002)
China prefers bilateral negotiations
Multilateral negotiations are failing
ASEAN divided
Stalled negotiations on the Code of Conduct
Why?
Issue of territorial integrity
Recovering lost territories
Natural resources
Oil
Natural gas
Fisheries
Implications for China's foreign policy
Thank you for your attention!
Questions: michal.thim@gmail.com
Incidents since 2000
April 1, 2001 - Hainan Island incident (collision of U.S. recon plane with Chinese fighter jet
March 8, 2009 - USS Impeccable incident
May26, 2011 - Chinese vessels cut Vietnamese exploration cables
April 10, 2012 - Standoff between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal begun
Chance of large-scale conflict? Unlikely!
SCS is important for China's trade
Tensions may lead to armed clashes
Risk of unintended escalation
Why?
Issue of territorial integrity
Recovering lost territories
Natural resources
Oil
Natural gas
Fisheries
Who?
China
Japan
Taiwan (Republic of China)
Disputed territory
China's claim
Historical area for Chinese fishermen since Ming dynasty (late 14th century)
Japan took the islands as part of Taiwan in 1895 by Treaty of Shimonoseki
Postdam declaration returned territories lost to Japan to China
Japan's claim
Japan's possession of Senkaku islands unrelated to 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki
Islands are part of Okinawa prefecture and were given under Japan's administration in 1971
There is no dispute
U.S. position
Take no position on the issue of sovereignty
BUT is committed to uphold obligations from 1951 mutual defense treaty which covers all areas under Japanese administration
Senkakus were transferred under Japanese administration in 1971
Negotiations
2008 East China Sea joint development agreement between Japan and China
Otherwise no negotiations
April, 2013 - Japan-Taiwan fishing agreement
Recent incidents
September 11, 2012 - Japan nationalizes the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands
September 25, 2012 - Taiwanese fishing boats repelled by Japan's coast guard
December 13, 2012 - China's surveillance plane entered Japan's airspace
February 5, 2013 - Chinese Navy vessel allegedly locked on its weapon systems on Japan's navy ship
Chances of conflict escalation
Should not be underestimated
Mix of territorial nationalism and historical grievances
Japan is an opponent that China does not have in SCS
Potential involvement of the US
Pros
China protects is interests as an aspiring great power
Despite greater military advantage in the SCS it has not escalated the situation
Cons
China's more assertive posture creates unnecessary tensions
Questions the notion of China's peaceful rise
Prompted other stakeholders to call for greater US role in the region
Summer 2012
Summer 2012
Disputed islands
Summer 2012
Useful resources
South and East China Seas dispute timeline: http://www.cnas.org/flashpoints/timeline
China's Maritime Disputes interactive guide by CFR: http://www.cfr.org/asia-and-pacific/chinas-maritime-disputes/p31345
Game of Shark and Minnow, NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2013/10/27/south-china-sea/
Gallery
Full transcript