China Tuesday reiterated its firm opposition to Japan's bid to extend its continental shelf in the southern Pacific.
Japan submitted an application to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf last November, asking it to recognize the extended area as Japan's continental shelf based on the so-called Okinotori Island.
A sub-panel of the UN Commission began to examine Japan's submission last week, and China has lodged its opposition.
What Japan called Okinotori Island, some 1,740 km south of Tokyo, was merely an atoll that cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of its own, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a news briefing.
She said Japan's application to claim exclusive economic zones or continental shelves based on such an atoll violated the regulations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLS). The bid has attracted attention from the international community.
According to Article 121 of the UNCLS, rocks which can not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.
"China's position on the issue is consistent, and we hope the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will handle the problem properly," Jiang said.
According to UN rules, nations can claim a right to a continental shelf extending beyond their 200-nautical mile coast boundaries if they have evidence to support the claim.
(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2009)