BBC reports on a new United Nations commission which hopes to resolve maritime boundary disputes, many of which concern China and its neighbors in the South China Sea. China recently entered a submission to the council defending its claims:
But perhaps one of the most complicated areas to resolve is who owns what in the South China Sea, with China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia all having competing claims.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu says the country has indisputable sovereignty over disputed South China Sea islands.
He says this jurisdiction also extends to what is below the seabed – which is important because the South China Sea has valuable oil and gas reserves.
China has recently become more assertive in pushing its territorial claims in the area, according to the BBC’s Michael Bristow in Beijing.
China has warned neighbours to stay off disputed islands in the South China Sea, telling the United Nations it holds “indisputable sovereignty” over the waters that are an arena for rising regional tension.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said his government made a submission to the United Nations asserting that Beijing will not tolerate other countries claiming the islands, which lie near vital shipping lanes and which some believe may be rich in oil and gas.