Taiwan proposes international arbitration for Okinotori dispute


April 30, 2016, 12:14 am TWN

TAIPEI–President Ma Ying-jeou said Friday that Japan’s claim that the Okinotori atoll is an “island” violates the rights of fishermen everywhere and that Taiwan is not ruling out the idea of submitting the dispute to international arbitration.

Again commenting on the April 25 detention of a Taiwanese fishing boat by Japan in waters 150 nautical miles east-southeast of Okinotori, Ma said Japan has seriously violated international law by illegally expanding its waters and demanding security deposits from detained fishermen in exchange for their release.

Okinotori is only 9 square meters in area, equal to the size of two double beds, and cannot possibly sustain human habitation or economic life of its own, Ma argued.

Citing Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said reefs that cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own are not entitled to an exclusive economic zone.