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Claims in South China Sea by Beijing inconsistent with international laws says US

According to a new study from the US State Department, China’s claims in the South China Sea are unwarranted. In its view, Beijing’s expansive maritime claims in the SCS are inconsistent with international law, reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

First of all, the United States has conducted an analysis on China’s claims to sovereignty of more than 100 features in the South China Sea (SCS) that are covered by the sea at high tide and lie beyond any state’s legal territorial sea. 

According to the US study, such claims are inconsistent with international law, according to which such features are not subject to a rightful sovereignty claim or capable of creating maritime zones like a territorial sea. 

Furthermore, the study discredited China’s claim that it has “historic rights” over SCS. The claim has no legal basis, and China asserts it without specifying either the nature or the geographic extent of the historic rights claimed. 

In the report, titled “Limits in the Sea,” it is pointed out that apart from its deficiency for substantive content, China’s declaration of historic rights over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean is vague.

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