China has disagreed with principle of EEZ in UNCLOS since initial discussions
An innovation of the 1982 UNCLOS Treaty was the creation of EEZs set forth in Articles 55 through 58.22 These zones ensure that coastal states maintain a significant degree of control over the natural resources off their coasts while retaining a substantial portion of the navigational and over-flight freedoms associated with the high seas region.23 Military ship and aircraft activities are not explicitly limited in the EEZ, so long as their activities do not involve exploitation of the resources resident in the EEZ. China sees the EEZ differently.
During development of the UNCLOS Treaty, Chinese delegate Li Ching made it clear that China did not concur with the EEZ concept. “China’s contention is that the essence of the new zone lies in the exclusiveness of coastal State jurisdiction. This contention explains why China repudiated the idea that the economic zone should be regarded as part of the high seas. If that zone were considered to be included in the high seas, so runs the argument, there would be no sense in labeling it as exclusive.”24 Not surprisingly, upon ratification in 1996 China asserted full sovereign rights over a 200 nautical mile EEZ.25 This assertion only adds to the complexities of the new EEZ concept.
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