China welcomes UN decision over Japan'scontinental shelf claim
10:41, June 09, 2012
BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday welcomed a UN panel decision not to recognize a Japanese territorial claim on the 250,000-square-km southern Kyushu-Palau Ridge.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on a summary of recommendations of UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) on Sunday regarding the extent of Japan's continental shelf in the western Pacific.
Japanese media said that the submerged prolongation of the land mass of Japan in this region extends from the land territories on the Izu-Ogasawara Arc to the east andthe Daito Ridge and the Kyushu-Palau Ridge in the west.
Japan's Foreign Ministry officials said Thursday that Okinotori "island" is the only Japanese land in the Kyushu-Palau Ridge, which means that it has been identified by the UN Commission as a base point for determining Japan's continental shelf.
China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have repeatedly delivered notes to UN Secretary General, asking the CLCS not to acknowledge Japan's claims over outer continental shelf based on Okinotori Atoll, as Okinotori is a group of rocks and not classifiable as an "island," said Liu.
Okinotori Atoll, some 1,700 km south of Tokyo, is only about 10 square meters above sea level at high tide.
According to Article 121 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, rocks that cannot sustain human habitation or an economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf status.
"Many countries have also expressed their objection to Japan's illegal claims relating to Okinotori Atoll," Liu said.
He said the commission's decision concerning Okinotori Atoll is "fair and reasonable"and in line with the international law.
"The commission has safeguarded the common interests of the whole international community and China welcomes the decision," he added.