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Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue's Remarks on the Representations Made by Japan on a Chinese Vessel's Presence in the Waters Near "Okinotori"
2004-12-14

Q: Japan made representations once again on the operation of a Chinese survey vessel in the waters near "Okinotori". What comment does China have on this?

A: I answered the question a few days ago. Today, I would like to further elaborate on this question. In line with Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, rocks are not eligible for any claim on exclusive economic zone. The article of the Convention reads as the two following sentences:

1. An island is a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide.

2. Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

These two provisions are exactly how the Convention text goes and form a complete concept.

Japan has different views on the nature and extension of the waters that may be claimed by "Okinotori". The question arising thereof should be properly handled by our two sides through friendly consultation.

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