The United States asserts that China’s claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea “contradict” international law and denies that the Asian giant has “historic rights” over the region because it lacks “legal foundations”.
“China asserts its claims regarding inland waters, the territorial sea, the economic zone and the continental shelf on the basis of the offshore group of islands as a whole. This is not permitted by international law. The US State Department said in a report on “islands” that the country claims “the extent of the marine areas must be measured from the lines of legal basis.
In this sense, China claims sovereignty over a hundred underwater terrain, submerged under the sea, so “this would be outside the legal boundaries of the territorial sea of any country.” Moreover, these characteristics, as the report asserts, “are not subject to the right to claim sovereignty.”
“With the publication of this latest study, the United States once again calls on China to amend its maritime claims to international law and cease its illegal and coercive activities in the South China Sea,” he said.
This includes, according to the report, any claim of sovereignty over the James Shoal Offshore Shallow, under Malaysian administration, the Vanguard Bank – within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone – or Macclesfield Bank, an alleged atoll of both China and Taiwan.
In addition, the report notes that these “unlawful marine claims” are added to low tide heights, such as the reefs of the Spratly Islands, the Mishef Reef, which are occupied and controlled by China and claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, or the Aungin Sands – Thomas Scholl II – Which “is located outside the territorial sea and is not subject to appropriation under international law.”
Finally, he indicates that the country has used baselines, defining islands and their waters and submerged features within oceanic space, to claim different groups of islands: Dongsha Kondao, Xisha Kondao, Zhongsha Kondao and Nansha Kondao. The United States notes that this claim “does not meet the geographical criteria” based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“These assertions seriously undermine the rule of law in the oceans and many of the globally recognized provisions of international law that are reflected in the agreement. For this reason, the United States and many other nations have rejected these allegations in favor of the international maritime order,” he says.
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