Apparently China was absent for the “Sharing The Ocean” lesson during country kindergarten. Their claims to the South China Sea are fucking ridiculous:
The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets a 200-mile limit on sea territory & was ratified by China in 1996. However China insists that historical claims dating back to ~200 BC – 200 AD supersede the international law that it has agreed to.
An excellent article titled ‘Abusing History’ from The Diplomat goes into more detail.
Beijing, it appears, wants to be made an exception in international law. It wants to have its cake and eat it. But law is law. What is the point of having international law when it is no longer international, and when it is no longer law?
It doesn’t help that Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, publishes articles like this one:
[China Institute of International Studies Vice-Director Dong Manyuan] said China has been improving diplomatic efforts and has maintained its position of seeking diplomatic solutions to the current situation, asking the Philippine side to correct its wrong position, drop unreasonable demands, and return to a right course as soon as possible.
Nice “diplomatic solution” there — blame the other side entirely for China’s huge sea area grab — one big F-U to some neighboring countries they don’t already occupy.