China blasted Japan for a “selfish” claim over an area of the Pacific Ocean larger than France, reigniting a long-standing territorial fight between Asia’s two largest economies.
Japan has long claimed Okinotori, which is about halfway between Taiwan and Guam, as its southernmost island. China says it is merely a reef, and does not entitle Japan to benefits such as a 200 nautical-mile (370.4km) radius exclusive economic zone that would apply to an island under international law.
“Japan, in pursuit of selfish interest, has illegally staked claim to nearly 700,000 square kilometers of jurisdictional waters based on the tiny reef,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) said on Tuesday, adding that this “undermines the overall interests of the international community.”
The uninhabited territory consists of low-lying rocks that have been augmented with concrete by Japan, in a precursor to similar, but more ambitious projects undertaken by China in the South China Sea.
Recognition of Japan’s claims could potentially constrain China’s naval activities in the area. Beijing has stepped up surveys of surrounding waters and its academics recently published a number of reports disputing Japan’s analysis, the Sankei Shimbun reported.
According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own bring no entitlement to an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf. Artificial islands do not have a territorial sea of their own under the law.
An international tribunal ruled in 2016 that China’s own efforts to assert control over the South China Sea, partly through territorial claims stemming from artificial islands, exceeded its legal rights under the UNCLOS. China refused to accept the ruling on procedural grounds.
In response to questions about China’s scientific reports on Okinotori, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno on Monday said that the country’s 2008 application to the UNCLOS Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf was based on plentiful scientific evidence.
South Korea also disputes Japan’s claims.
JUMPING BAIL: The democracy advocate said made the decision after ‘considering the situation in Hong Kong, my personal safety, my physical and mental health’ Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow (周庭), who was jailed over her role in massive 2019 protests, on Sunday said she had moved to Canada and would not return to meet her bail conditions. Chow was one of the best-known young faces of the 2012, 2014 and 2019 protest movements against Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule in Hong Kong. She spent about seven months behind bars for her role in a protest outside Hong Kong police headquarters in 2019, when huge crowds rallied week after week in the most serious challenge to China’s rule since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover. On Sunday
TAKING STOCK: It was not yet clear how damaging the espionage, dating to 1981, has been, as authorities are still assessing the situation, the State Department said A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and charged with spying for Cuba over a 40-year span, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, detailing a shock betrayal by a suspect who called the US “the enemy.” US Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the allegations against Victor Manuel Rocha, a onetime member of the White House’s National Security Council now accused of using his positions within the government to support Cuba’s “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the US. The charges against Rocha, 73, expose “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign
DARK WARNINGS: If Trump survives his court trials, neither the Supreme Court nor the US Constitution could stop him from becoming president for life, a ‘Post’ column said Former US president Donald Trump on Tuesday declined to rule out abusing power if he returns to the White House after Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him to respond to growing criticism of his rhetoric. The Republican presidential front-runner has talked about targeting his rivals — referring to them as “vermin” — and vowed to seek retribution if he wins a second term for what he argues are politically motivated prosecutions against him. As Trump has dominated the Republican presidential primary, US President Joe Biden has stepped up his own warnings, contending that Trump is “determined to destroy American democracy.” “Under no
Seventeen people died and 11 were injured when a passenger bus careered off a road on a “killer curve” and plunged down a mountain in the central Philippines, officials said yesterday. The bus was traveling in Hamtic municipality in Antique province when the crash happened on Tuesday afternoon, Antique Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Roderick Train said. Seven people were in critical condition in a hospital and four others were stable, Train said, describing the section of road as “accident prone.” One Kenyan national was among those killed, and a second Kenyan was among those critically injured. The bus, which came from