(VOVworld) – The US State Department has announced its protest against the 9-dash (or the U-shaped) line that delineates China’s unilateral claim in the East Sea.
The Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs reported that in 2009 China sent to the UN Secretary General a diplomatic note with a map attached featuring the 9-dash line enclosing Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, and the Scarborough Shoal in the East Sea.
The report said the line stretches along the coastline of a number of countries bordering the East Sea. The first dash of it is just 50 nautical miles from Vietnam’s coast and 36 nautical miles from Vietnam’s Ly Son Island.
According to the report, China hasn’t been able to show any internationally-recognized documents to prove its 9-dash line claim. China’s announcements and actions have been inconsistent with the nature and scope of its claim.
The US State Department demanded that the 9-dash line enclosing islands China claims be consistent with definitions of territorial waters, contiguous waters, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, coastline, and island stated in Article 121 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). If the line reflects China’s “historical waters” or “historical rights”, the claims are not mentioned in “historic claims” described in UNCLOS Article 10 and 15.
In the East Sea, coastal countries enjoy rights to exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in accordance with the law on the sea, which does not allow claims by one country based on historical factors to supercede the rights of others. China has not provided legal justification for its claims of “historical waters”, including publicly, effectively and continuously exercising sovereignty over the maritime area and being recognized for such exercise of sovereignty. For those reasons, the report concludes that China’s 9-dash line claim is inconsistent with the international law of the sea.
The report was released ahead of a December 15 deadline for China to respond to the Philippines’ arbitration case on the disputed sea area. Last Saturday China refused to participate in the arbitration process.