China reports to UN outer limits of continental shelf in E. China Sea

2012-12-15 00:57:18 GMT2012-12-15 08:57:18(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

China on Friday presented to the UN Secretariat its Partial Submission Concerning the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles in the East China Sea.

The document states that geological characteristics show that the continental shelf in the East China Sea is the natural prolongation of China's land territory.

The natural prolongation of the continental shelf of China in the East China Sea extends to the Okinawa Trough, an important geographical unit with remarkable partition, the document says.

The width of the continental shelf of China in the East China Sea, the document says, is measured more than 200 nautical miles from the baselines of the territorial sea of China.

It also points out that its issuance shall not affect the Chinese government in presenting other demarcation submissions concerning outer continental shelves in the East China Sea and other waters.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), if the continental shelf of a coastal state extends beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the width of the territorial sea is measured, information on the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles shall be submitted by the coastal state to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the UNCLOS.

In September, the Chinese government decided to submit to the commission the information on the outer limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles.

China's continental shelf demarcation plan sound: official

An official with the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) told Xinhua on Friday that China's demarcation proposal of the outer limits of its continental shelf in the East China Sea is based on substantial scientific and legal grounds.

China on Friday presented to the UN Secretariat its Partial Submission Concerning the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles in the East China Sea.

Chen Lianzeng, deputy head of the SOA, said physiognomy and geological characteristics show that the continental shelf in the East China Sea is the natural prolongation of China's land territory.

As the geological characteristics of the Okinawa Trough are significantly different to those of the continental shelf in the East China Sea, the Okinawa Trough should be recognized as the natural end of the East China Sea continental shelf, Chen added.

Legally speaking, as the continental shelf in the East China Sea shares the same geological characteristics as China's territorial continent, it could be deemed as the natural prolongation of the land territory under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Chen said.

He added, moreover, that the width of China's continental shelf in the East China Sea is measured more than 200 nautical miles from the baselines of the territorial sea of China, so China has the right to claim the continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles.

The SOA deputy chief said it will take a long time for the UN to evaluate China's proposal, as continental shelf demarcation involves complicated scientific and technological problems, and there is already a pile of proposals queuing for evaluations.

However, Chen added, even if evaluation of China's proposal is slow, it does not affect China claiming its rights to the continental shelf in the East China Sea.

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Editor: Yu Runze
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