[EDITORIALS]More demands from ChinaAfter arguing that Mount Paektu is part of its territory, China is now claiming an island off the coast is its territory as well.
The Chinese officials said that Ieo reef is located below the water in the northern part of the East China Sea, and a spokesman from the Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed Korea’s claim to the reef as lacking legal grounds.
Technically, since the Ieo reef is lying underwater, it isn’t part of our territory. However, it is located within our exclusive economic zone. It is 245 kilometers (153.5 miles) off the closest Chinese island, Tongdao, but only about 150 kilometers from Korea’s southernmost inhabited island, Mara Island.
We are in a discussion with China on the zone, but a general rule of thumb in international law is that if the ocean between the two nations is less than 200 nautical miles, then the mid point becomes the boundary of the EEZ.
In that case, the Ieo reef is part of our territory. It’s none of China’s business if we build an ocean research station there. For the Chinese to make such a claim in order to secure ocean resources is ludicrous.
We think it is a meticulous calculation on their part that the Chinese raised the Ieo reef issue. A series of provocations, from distorting the history of the Goguryeo Kingdom and Balhae to claiming Mount Paektu as historically Chinese, have displayed the Chinese people’s hegemonic agenda.
The Chinese government is apparently considering Korea to be an easy target, and this situation has been brought on by the Korean government itself. We have responded weakly to the Chinese claims.
The government must tackle the Chinese officials on their Ieo reef charges, and firmly establish the jurisdiction of the reef. It’s about time we tell the Chinese what they need to hear.