SCMP: Japan weighs in on South China Sea dispute, adding to pressure on Beijing
Thu January, 2021, Age: 3 years
Japan’s permanent mission to the UN sent a “note verbale”, a form of a diplomatic note, that argued that China’s territorial claims on some islands and reefs in the South China Sea fail to satisfy conditions in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea determined in 2016 that many of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea were invalid as the claimed territorial features were in fact “low-tide elevations”. Japan’s note, addressed to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, read in part: “China has not accepted this  award, and has asserted that it has ‘sovereignty’ in sea and airspace surrounding and above those maritime features found to be low-tide elevations.” It is somewhat rare for Japan to insert itself in the disputed South China Sea fracas as Japan continues to grapple with its own territorial dispute with China closer to home in the East China Sea. There, Japan claims sovereignty to and is in possession of the Senkaku Islands but those same islands are claimed by the Chinese as the Diaoyus islands. There has been a growing presence of Chinese coast guard vessels in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands, to which the Japanese formally objected at a high-level consultation on maritime affairs at the U.N. this week.