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China must safeguard island

By Jin Yongming | China Daily | Updated: 2012-05-16 08:10

The harassment of Chinese fishermen by a Philippine naval vessel near Huangyan Island has severely undermined China's territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction. China should dispatch naval vessels to waters off the island to safeguard its interests, given that the current fishery patrol vessels and marine surveillance ships, all non-military, will be unable to meet the country's security requirements if the month-long standoff continues.

Based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles measured from its baseline. This rule applies to Huangyan Island as part of China's Zhongsha Islands, over which China claims indisputable sovereignty.

Chinese astronomer Guo Shoujing, conducted a survey of the seas around China in 1279 for the emperor Kublai Khan, and Huangyan Island was chosen as a point for surveying the South China Sea, which proves that Huangyan Island had been discovered by the Chinese at least by the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

China must safeguard island

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