Korea refutes Japan’s claim to East China Sea shelf
Published : 2013-01-24 20:35
Updated : 2013-01-24 20:35
South Korea sent a diplomatic letter to a U.N. commission dismissing Japan’s opposition to Seoul’s claim that its naturally extended continental shelf stretches to the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea, an official said Thursday.
The move came less than two weeks after Japan presented its opinion to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, insisting that Seoul and Tokyo need to define their boundaries through consultations and asked the CLCS not to review South Korea’s claim.
In the letter, South Korea said it was a “fair implementation of duty” for Seoul to officially proclaim that the outer limits of the continental shelf of Korea extend to the Okinawa Trough through natural prolongation of its land territory under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, the foreign ministry official said.
Also in the letter, South Korea criticized Japan for rejecting a “good-will” proposal to discuss about the issue before Seoul officially submitted the claim to the U.N. commission last month, the official said.
According to the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, coastal nations can claim an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from their shores. In the EEZ, a country is eligible for exclusive rights to the exploration and use of marine resources.
South Korea “will continue making efforts to facilitate the necessary procedures within the CLCS for the consideration of the submitted information in a seamless manner and will actively engage in negotiations with its neighboring countries on maritime boundary delimitation, both with a view to maximizing Korea’s national interest,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
China and Japan have separately claimed the Okinawa Trough, with part of Seoul’s recent claim overlapping with China’s. Seoul and Beijing, however, share a largely similar stance on defining the limits while being in discord with Japan, according to Seoul officials.
The continental shelf in the East China Sea is believed to be rich in natural gas and oil deposits.
The CLCS typically puts forth “recommendations” after a three-month, non-regulated review of the information submitted by each country, and its decision is not legally binding. (Yonhap News)