China moves to prevent Japanese atoll port plans


China has expressed displeasure with Japanese plans to build a port on the Okinotorishima atoll, according to Reuters.

Previously, China had argued that the Pacific landmass, which Japan owns, did not meet the UN's criteria for an island because it was uninhabitable.

If the Okinotorishima atoll were recognised as an island, then Japan would have an indisputable claim to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the atoll. In other words, Japan would special rights to marine resources and passages in up to 400,000 square kilometres of adjacent ocean.

The construction of a port would make the atoll habitable and, presumably, an island.

But China's foreign ministry has already attacked this idea, releasing a statement that "building facilities on it would not change the atoll's legal status."

Tracey Jia

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