China Seeks Sovereignty over Much of South Korean Yellow Sea


The Chinese government is seeking to expand its Exclusive Economic Zone in the Yellow Sea, deep into South Korean waters–the latest move in what appears to be a comprehensive strategy to usurp sovereignty over Asian waters that include both the South and East China Seas.

The governments of China and South Korea have begun talks toward the resolution of a territorial dispute in the Yellow Sea. International maritime law allows for the establishment of an Exclusive Economic Zone within 200 nautical miles of a nation’s coast. The waters involved in this dispute are within the 200 nautical mile limit for both China and South Korea, however, necessitating a diplomatic resolution.

In the first diplomatic talks on the matter in seven years, South Korea proposed making the limit of their respective zones the halfway point between the two. China, however, is rejecting this, demanding exclusive control over more of the territory, including waters in which South Korea has constructed a marine research facility.

The Telegraph notes that Chinese diplomats are trying to argue that, because China is a more populous country with more land area, it deserves control over a larger percentage of the sea. Despite President Park Geun-hye’s efforts to warm relations between China and South Korea – culminating in Park making an appearance at China’s WWII victory parade this year, much to North Korea’s chagrin – Korean diplomats have made clear China’s proposal is unacceptable.

A similar meeting in 2008 resulted in no conclusive agreement, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun notes. The lack of resolution has led many to fear that clashes between South Korean and Chinese vessels are possible, though in the past year, only one major incident occurred between the two nations in South Korean waters. South Korean coast guard officials fired at a Chinese patrol boat that had entered South Korean territory earlier this month, but later explained the aggressive reaction was a misunderstanding: coast guard officials thought the boat was North Korean.


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