Principled use of power


Officials of some nations that are major trading partners of the Chinese have expressed concern over reclamation activities in disputed waters, but without identifying China. The officials also say other countries are doing the same, although to a lesser extent.

It’s just a cop-out to avoid antagonizing Beijing. These officials may want to look at a map – one recognized by the international community – to see that those other countries (the Philippines included) are claiming territory within their 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) stipulated for coastal nations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea  (UNCLOS).

China’s massive reclamation, on the other hand, is focused on shoals at least 600 nautical miles from its southernmost tip. What’s the basis for its territorial claim? Several countries face the South China Sea. What if the Philippines also began building artificial islands 600 miles away from the northwestern tip of Batanes, close to the Chinese mainland?


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