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UPDATE1: S. Korea to submit claim on E. China Sea shelf to U.N. body.

SEOUL, July 5 Kyodo


South Korea will submit an official claim on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond its exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea to a U.N. commission as early as this month, Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday, citing a senior foreign ministry official.

"After reviewing and processing relevant data, we completed working-level procedures to formally submit the documents" to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the official was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, South Korea's foreign ministry deputy spokeswoman Han Hye Jin confirmed South Korea's move to submit the documents, but declined to give further details.

"We will submit (the claim) as scheduled soon. But I can't touch upon details of the documents," she said in a news briefing.

The move is expected to rekindle territorial disputes with China and Japan over the Okinawa Trough, which is believed to contain natural gas and oil deposits.

In May 2009, South Korea sparked concern in its neighbors by submitting "preliminary information" to the commission regarding the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers), saying they stretch to the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea.

It said the Okinawa Trough is "where the seabed and subsoil of the East China Sea comprises a continuous continental landmass extending from Korea's coast to the limits specified in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea."

According to the convention, coastal nations can claim an EEZ extending 200 nautical miles from their shores, with exclusive rights to exploration and use of marine resources.

The South Korean move in 2009 prompted China to assert its own claim over the Okinawa Trough, arguing that the trough is part of its natural continental shelf extension.

Japan also objected, saying delimitation of the continental shelf in South Korea's case cannot be accomplished under the provisions of the U.N. convention since the distance between its coasts and those of Japan is less than 400 nautical miles.

It said delimitation of the continental shelf should instead be resolved between the countries concerned.

South Korea has said it would make its formal submission to the commission "taking into account the progress of ongoing negotiations with China and Japan" on delimitation of boundaries in the East China Sea.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Jul 9, 2012
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