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China safeguards int'l interests in opposing Japan's atoll bid: FM

English.news.cn   2010-01-19 18:08:46 FeedbackPrintRSS

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday that China is safeguarding the interests of the international community in objecting to Japan's claims around the Okinotori atoll.

The Japanese government has reportedly submitted a bill to the congress, which will allow it to protect the coastlines of remote islands, including the so-called Okinotori Island.

Such a bill, if enacted, would imply Japan's rights to claim Okinotori's surrounding area as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

"The Okinotori atoll is only about 10 square meters above the sea at the flood-tide and is nothing but a rock according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLS)," the spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular press briefing.

"Neither EEZ nor continental shelf should be claimed around such a rock," Ma said.

China had clearly and openly expressed its opposition based on laws, morality and justice, said Ma.

Japan has built facilities such as a lighthouse on what it calls its southernmost island, some 1,700 km from Tokyo, and is planning to build a port there this year.

"The construction of facilities, however, will not change its legal status," Ma said.

Japan's move to claim rights over such a large marine area, centered on the Okinotori atoll, was against international laws and would gravely damage the interests of the international community as a whole, he said.

According to Article 121 of the UNCLS, rocks that cannot sustain human habitation or an economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

"Japan's such actions and claims are obviously untenable in legal terms and other countries have also raised their concerns," Ma said.

FM press conference on Jan. 19

China safeguards int'l interests in opposing Japan's atoll bid: FM

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday that China is safeguarding the interests of the international community in objecting to Japan's claims around the Okinotori atoll.

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Editor: Anne Tang
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