It goes by several names: Nine Dashed Lines. The U-shaped Line. The Cow Tongue.
But whatever you call it, China’s controversial territorial claim is at the heart of a simmering dispute among the nations that ring the South China Sea.
That dispute was on full display last week, after China rejected calls by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to find agreement on the maritime borders.
Also last week, representatives from the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and Malaysia voiced their markedly different perspectives on the situation at the Conference on the Practices of the UNCLOS and the Resolution of South China Sea Disputes. UNCLOS refers to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
At the conference, which took place here Sept. 3-4, speakers and delegates from the Asian countries dragged out ancient maps and cited international laws and agreements to justify their claims over the same rocks.
There are six claimants to various atolls, islands, rocks and oil blocks in the South China Sea. But no country has matched the audacity of China, which claimed 80 percent of it, an area the size of India.
The exclusivity of Beijing’s claim even extends to within the 200 nautical mile limit of the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Philippines and Vietnam. That tension was evident at the Taipei conference.
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