South China Sea conflict:Simplified


.

The South China Sea encompasses an area of 1.4 million square miles of ocean and several hundread small islads,atolls,rocks and shaols with a cumulative land area of about six square miles.Most of the Islands are inhabitable and submerged even under low tides.The islands have no indegenous population,but now the countries are promoting migration to these islands to extend their claims.The area is rich in natural resources, but most of it is difficult to develop and thus far relatively unexploited.More than half of the world's commerce travels by sea and about half of the world's oil tankers are passing through this waters.This further escalates the conflict.

________________________________________
                   
                     Countires and Claims
________________________________________

Spartly Islands:China,Taiwan and Vietnam
Parcel Islands:China,Taiwan and Vietnam
Scarborough Reef:China,Phillippines and Taiwan
Pratas Island:Taiwan and China
Macclesfield Bank:China and Taiwan
________________________________________

From above list its clear that China and Taiwan is claiming all islands in south china sea, but the question is under what basis?, Why they are not willing to bring its maritime claims into conformity with UNCLOS and limit its claims to maritime zones measured from islands or the baselines as per international norms?,All other countries (Especially ASEAN) involved in the conflict ,brought their claims conformity with UNCLOS in 2009.Phillippines in 2009 passed a new baseline law,under which it will claim an EEZ from the main archipelagic baselines.The law states that "the offshore islands it claims in south china sea,including Scarborough Shoal ,shall be governed by the regime of islands in Article 121 of UNCLOS. The same approach is taken by both Vietnam and Malaysia and they brought clarity in their claims. As these three nations claimed their EEZ from their mainland baselines, I hope they can reach to a common solution favorable to all. But as China and Taiwan claim the whole South china sea (by nine-dash line). China is now backing their claims with historical rights which have no legal base. The NDL was first put forward by the Republic of China in 1947 and then inherited and endorsed by PRC.

Currently, China controls Parcel islands, But in the spartlys Vietnam occupies most of the islands, about 25 in total, China and Philippines occupies around 6-7 islands ,Malaysia 4 and Taiwan occupies 1 island.

UNCLOS Distinctions between Islands,rocks,low tide elevations and submerged features:

Islands&Rocks
----------------------

#General rule is that every island is entitled to the same maritime zones as land territory,that is to a territorial sea (12nm),an EEZ (200 nm) and a continental shelf.
#An important exception for certain islands provided in Article 121(3) of UNCLOS,"Rocks which cannot sustain human inhabitation or economic life of their own shall have no EEZ or Continental Shelf ",In other words, rocks are only entitled to territorial sea.

Low tide elevations and Submerged features
-------------------------------------------------------------

#Low tide elevations are naturally formed areas of island surrounded by and above water at low-tide,but submerged at high tide.
#They are not islands and are not entitled to any maritime zones.
#However if they are within 12 nm of any land territory ,Including any island,They can be used as points for measuring the baselines of that land territory.But it cannot be subjected to claim sovereignty over those features.But if its located with in its EEZ the costal state will have full sovereignty over it.

So as per UNCLOS current claims of china and Taiwan are base less.As china wants full control over these features,we cannot drive out the possibility of occupying these features by force.If a likely situation arises,no doubt it will escalate to a full scale conflict between claimant countries and may be with other concerned nations like United States.The conflict can be peacefully resolved only if claimant nations explain their claims as conformity with UNCLOS and reach a decision favorable to all.

Sources&More Information:
http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pg.html
www.pvpubs.com/GeomaticsWorld/Home
http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/12/south-china-sea-impasse-kuok
http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2014/02/06-us-china-nine-dash-line-bader
http://www.irasec.com/ouvrage34
http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo50612
http://www.nbr.org/publications/element.aspx?id=522

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

South China Sea conflict:Simplified

.

The South China Sea encompasses an area of 1.4 million square miles of ocean and several hundread small islads,atolls,rocks and shaols with a cumulative land area of about six square miles.Most of the Islands are inhabitable and submerged even under low tides.The islands have no indegenous population,but now the countries are promoting migration to these islands to extend their claims.The area is rich in natural resources, but most of it is difficult to develop and thus far relatively unexploited.More than half of the world's commerce travels by sea and about half of the world's oil tankers are passing through this waters.This further escalates the conflict.

________________________________________
                   
                     Countires and Claims
________________________________________

Spartly Islands:China,Taiwan and Vietnam
Parcel Islands:China,Taiwan and Vietnam
Scarborough Reef:China,Phillippines and Taiwan
Pratas Island:Taiwan and China
Macclesfield Bank:China and Taiwan
________________________________________

From above list its clear that China and Taiwan is claiming all islands in south china sea, but the question is under what basis?, Why they are not willing to bring its maritime claims into conformity with UNCLOS and limit its claims to maritime zones measured from islands or the baselines as per international norms?,All other countries (Especially ASEAN) involved in the conflict ,brought their claims conformity with UNCLOS in 2009.Phillippines in 2009 passed a new baseline law,under which it will claim an EEZ from the main archipelagic baselines.The law states that "the offshore islands it claims in south china sea,including Scarborough Shoal ,shall be governed by the regime of islands in Article 121 of UNCLOS. The same approach is taken by both Vietnam and Malaysia and they brought clarity in their claims. As these three nations claimed their EEZ from their mainland baselines, I hope they can reach to a common solution favorable to all. But as China and Taiwan claim the whole South china sea (by nine-dash line). China is now backing their claims with historical rights which have no legal base. The NDL was first put forward by the Republic of China in 1947 and then inherited and endorsed by PRC.

Currently, China controls Parcel islands, But in the spartlys Vietnam occupies most of the islands, about 25 in total, China and Philippines occupies around 6-7 islands ,Malaysia 4 and Taiwan occupies 1 island.

UNCLOS Distinctions between Islands,rocks,low tide elevations and submerged features:

Islands&Rocks
----------------------

#General rule is that every island is entitled to the same maritime zones as land territory,that is to a territorial sea (12nm),an EEZ (200 nm) and a continental shelf.
#An important exception for certain islands provided in Article 121(3) of UNCLOS,"Rocks which cannot sustain human inhabitation or economic life of their own shall have no EEZ or Continental Shelf ",In other words, rocks are only entitled to territorial sea.

Low tide elevations and Submerged features
-------------------------------------------------------------

#Low tide elevations are naturally formed areas of island surrounded by and above water at low-tide,but submerged at high tide.
#They are not islands and are not entitled to any maritime zones.
#However if they are within 12 nm of any land territory ,Including any island,They can be used as points for measuring the baselines of that land territory.But it cannot be subjected to claim sovereignty over those features.But if its located with in its EEZ the costal state will have full sovereignty over it.

So as per UNCLOS current claims of china and Taiwan are base less.As china wants full control over these features,we cannot drive out the possibility of occupying these features by force.If a likely situation arises,no doubt it will escalate to a full scale conflict between claimant countries and may be with other concerned nations like United States.The conflict can be peacefully resolved only if claimant nations explain their claims as conformity with UNCLOS and reach a decision favorable to all.

Sources&More Information:
http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pg.html
www.pvpubs.com/GeomaticsWorld/Home
http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/12/south-china-sea-impasse-kuok
http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2014/02/06-us-china-nine-dash-line-bader
http://www.irasec.com/ouvrage34
http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo50612
http://www.nbr.org/publications/element.aspx?id=522

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