On May 2nd, 2014 the Chinese National Offshore Oil Cooperation’s oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 (HS981) began drilling in disputed waters just off the coast of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The drilling was met with outrage by both the Vietnamese government and its people who claim that the People’s Republic of China is drilling in waters belonging to Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). China responds stating the waters as belonging to them, and thus debate, protests and attacks ensued.
The dispute regarding the division of the South China Sea has been a long one and can be understood in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Seas (UNCLOS). According to UNCLOS the claim of maritime zones is made by using the coastal baselines by which a zone is measured. A coastal state can claim an EEZ by measuring 200 nautical miles from the baseline of its mainland coasts. Furthermore within the EEZ, as per the UNCLOS, the claimant coastal states have,‘Sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents, and winds.’
Read more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/lens/item/30940-imbalance-in-regional-cooperation.html#sthash.h9sKeSDo.dpuf