Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China has presented a detailed report to the United Nations, which reportedly contains explanations for territorial claims in the East China Sea at the center of a dispute with Japan. According to some geological features of the coast and subsoil, the territorial waters of Beijing would extend beyond 200 nautical miles (about 370 km) considered the exclusive economic zone in accordance with international treaties. Now it will be a UN commission of experts to examine the documentation, although it will have no "authority" to settle the dispute over maritime boundaries.
For some time now Beijing and
Tokyo have been locked in a dispute over the possession of a group of islands
in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The
report submitted by Beijing to the United Nations, states that "the
natural prolongation of the continental shelf of China in the East China Sea stretches
to the channel of Okinawa." This
is why the islands should be considered as "natural extension of the
Tensions have risen to breaking point. December 13 last, the Tokyo scrambled fighter jest to the area, after a Chinese aircraft entered the airspace of the Senkaku / Diaoyu. For several months, Tokyo and Beijing are at a stand off over the sovereignty of this group of islands in the East China Sea, sending ships, coastguards and fishing in the area. But this is the first time that the airspace has been drawn into the issue.
The uninhabited islets were occupied by Japan in 1895 because they were considered terra nullius, nobody's territory. And, in fact, in the past China has never complained. Since 1970's the possibility of endless oil and gas reserves in the subsoil has been touted. Immediately following this discovery, Beijing began a diplomatic struggle for the return of the Senkaku (or Diaoyu) to China. The group of islands seems to have a strategic value for the control of the Pacific Ocean and its waters are rich in fish. In 2008, as a gesture of detente, the two governments signed an agreement for joint research and the exploitation of the archipelago, which, however, has never been acted on.