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Karolos Karnikis


East China Sea Summary of Claims China maintains that the Diaoyu Islands (or Diaoyudao) have been a part of its sovereign territory since the Ming Dynasty in the sixteenth century. The territory is controlled and claimed by Japan (which refers to the islands as the Senkakus) and Taiwan (Diaoyutai). While Beijing acknowledges that the Diaoyu Islands were ceded to Japan in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, it contends that control was returned to China at the end of World War II. Historical/Legal Basis of Claims China argues that it has controlled the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when… Read More »China


Summary of Interests The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has called for a peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea through direct negotiations among claimant parties and adherence to international law. The regional organization opposes the use of force or the threat of force by any claimant to advance its claims. Statements Regarding Interests “We….emphasize the necessity to resolve all sovereignty and jurisdictional issues pertaining to the South China Sea by peaceful means, without resort to force; [and] urge all parties concerned to exercise restraint with the view to creating a positive climate for the… Read More »ASEAN


Summary of Claims Japan claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, which are disputed by China and Taiwan (which refer to the islands as the Diaoyu and Diaoyutai, respectively). Japan administers the island group as part of Okinawa Prefecture. Japan also contests Takeshima Island with South Korea (which refers to the island as Dokdo) and the Kuril Islands (known as the Northern Territories in Japan) with Russia. Historical/Legal Basis of Claims Japan claims to have discovered the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in 1884. Japan subsequently surveyed the islands for ten years before determining them to be uninhabited terra nullius and annexing them in… Read More »Japan


Cuarteron Reef

Cuarteron Reef has been expanded by around 23.1 hectares since May 2014, and now hosts a helipad and possibly elements of a radar network. In October 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Transport inaugurated a 50-meter-tall lighthouse on Cuarteron Reef.


Duncan Island

China has expanded Duncan Island’s size by approximately 50% using sand dredged from the sea floor. Satellite imagery from January 2016 showed construction of a new helicopter base with 12 landing zones and efforts underway to expand and reinforce an island harbor.