Jakarta, GIVnews.com – South China Sea has been a major source of headache for diplomats all throughout Southeast Asia for the past few years. China claims about 90% of the sea with its infamous nine-dash line, creating conflicting territorial overlaps with Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei Darussalam. While China does not have territorial disputes with Indonesia, it claims an overlap between its self-proclaimed nine-dash line and Natuna Islands’ exclusive economic zone.
China’s claim on the South China Sea, which was declared illegal recently by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, was based largely on a historical basis. China believes that its people was the first to explore the waters, thus granting them sovereignty regardless of what international law says.
To support this claim, China advances multiple evidences ranging from pottery shards to navigational charts used by Chinese fishermen centuries ago. Fortunately, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which was ratified by China and on which the Court’s ruling was based, gives little weight to history when deciding territorial disputes.