China, angry over United States’ move to sail a warship near fake Chinese islands, has summoned US Ambassador to China Max Baucus the same day US made the move, October 27. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned Baucus lodging “serious representations” and “strong discontent”.
“This action by the United States threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests and endangers the safety of personnel and facilities on the reef, which is a serious provocation,” Zhang said as quoted by Xinhua.
The Chinese official said that move by US was “a show of force that is very likely to trigger an accident, threatening the rights of navigation and overflight shared by all countries, and harming peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
Meanwhile US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said the State Department do not confirm details of diplomatic conversations. “What I will say is that this is a matter we have routinely discussed with the ministry of foreign affairs in Beijing and will continue to do so.”
According to UNCLOS “every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles.” However, a low-tide elevation which is wholly situated at a distance exceeding the breadth of the territorial sea from the mainland or an island, it has no territorial sea of its own.
UNCLOS added that “artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.”