Offshore Oil Development in the China Seas: Some Legal and Territorial Issues

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Offshore Oil Development in the China Seas: Some Legal and Territorial Issues

in Ocean Yearbook Online


1. As used in this study, "the China seas" refers to the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, the Gulf of Tonkin, and part of the Sunda Shelf, severally or collec- tively, as the case may be. 2. Sekyu Tsushinsha, Sekyu shiryo [Oil data] (Tokyo: Sekyu Tsushinsha, 1977), pp. 2-3. For crude oil statistics, Japan uses "kiloliter," not "ton." A ton amounts to 7.3 bbl, and a barrel to 0.159 kl. Therefore, a kiloliter of crude oil is 0.8615 ton. 3. Zhang Ming-nan, Chen Ru-xi, Xu Wen-jun, and Yang Zhen-yu, Zhongguo shiyou qingliufendi zucheng [The fractional distillation of Chinese petroleum] (Beijing: Kexue Chubanshe, 1962), p. 6.

4. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, China: Oil Production Prospects, ER 77-10030U (Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1977), p. 7.

5. Fan Shih-ching and Chin Yun-shan, "Zhongguo Donghai he Huanghai nanbu dizhidi chubu yenjiu" [Preliminary study of submarine geology of China's East Sea and the southern Yellow Sea], Haiyang yu huzhao [Oceanologia et limnologia] 2 (April 1959): 82-85; English trans., Translations on Communist China, no. 97, Joint Publication Research Service (JPRS) 50252 (April 7, 1970), pp. 12-36. For further details, see, e.g., S. Harrison, China, Oil, and Asia: Conflict Ahead? (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), p. 58. 6. Jingjibu [Ministry of economic affairs], Dalu shiyou gongye gailan [Summary of the petroleum industry of the mainland] (Taipei: Ministry of Economic Affairs, June 1967), pp. 6-7. 7. Ibid., p. 7. 8. K.O. Emery et al., "Geological Structure and Some Water Characteristics of the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea," Technical Bulletin (ECAFE) 2 (1969): 3-43. 9. Ibid., p. 4. 10. U.S. CIA, p. 8.

11. "The project leader was removed following a barrage of criticism. It is true that the ship's equipment was unable to penetrate all of the formations most likely to contain oil ... " (ibid., p. 6). 12. Emery et al., p. 41. 13. Ibid. 14. International Court of Justice, The North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (1969), p. 53.

15. Choon-ho Park, "Oil under Troubled Waters: The Northeast Asia Sea-Bed Controversy," Harvard International Laru,Journal 14 (1973): 226 and map at p. 219. 16. Ibid., pp. 223-24. 17. Ibid., pp. 227-29. 18. Choon-ho Park, "The Sino-Japanese-Korean Sea Resources Controversy and the Hypothesis of a 200-Mile Economic Zone," Harvard International Laru,Journal 16 (1975): 42-45. For the English text of the agreement and a map, see Continental Shelf Boundary and Joint Development,: ,Japan-Republic of Korea, Limits in the Seas, no. 75, (Washington, D.C.: Department of State, Office of the Geographer, 1977). 19. For details, see, e.g., Choon-ho Park, "China and Maritime Jurisdiction: Some Boundary Issues," Gerrnan Yearbook of International Law (Kiel: Institut fiir Internationales Recht, 1980), vol. 22, chap. 2, and sources cited therein.

20. United Nations, General Assembly, Official Records, Report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Sea-Bed and the Ocean Floor beyond National Jurisdiction, suppl. 21 (4/9021), 6 vols. (1973), 3:72 (hereafter cited as Report). 21. Robert D. Hodgson, "The Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries between Oppo- site and Adjacent States through the Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf," Proceedings (13th Annual Conference of the Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii, forthcoming), n. 6 (hereafter cited as "Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries"). 22. Pyongyang Times (July 9, 1977), p. 3; or Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) (Asia and Pacific) 4 (July 1, 1977): D2. For a commentary, see People's Korea (July 13, 1977), p. 2. 23. United Nations, Doc. ST/LEG/SER.B/19, preliminary issue, June 13, 1978, pp. 226-40. For details with a map, see Seiichi Yoshida, "200-kairi jitai: wagakunino gyogyo suiekinimo" [The 200-mile era: in our seas as well] Tokino horei [Current laws], no. 974 (1977), pp. 11-19. 24. Park, "China and Maritime Jurisdiction," and "The 50-Mile Military Boundary Zone of North Korea," American journal of International Law 72 (1978): 866-75.

25. For a hypothetical illustration, see U.S. Department of State, Office of the Geographer, Potential Maritime Zones of Northern East Asia, 503591 12-77 (Washington, D.C.: Department of State, 1977). 26. For the geophysical circumstances of the South China Sea, see M. L. Parke, Jr., K. O. Emery, R. Szymankiewicz, and L. M. Reynolds, "Structural Framework of Conti- nental Margin in South China Sea, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin 55 (May 1971): 723-51. 27. Reportedly China found oil in the Gulf of Tonkin (theBeibu Gulf in Chinese and the Vinh Bac Phan in Vietnamese); see Dagongbao (October 12, 1979), as quoted in Sankei shinbun (October 13, 1979), p. 5.

28. Working paper presented to the 1972 Geneva session of the UN Seabed Com- mittee by China in Report, p. 74; and Vietnamese declaration of 200-mile economic zone, FBIS (Asia and Pacific) (May 24, 1977), p. K6. 29. Petroleum News: Southeast Asia 7 (January 1977): 46. A Chinese proposal on the delimitation of boundaries in the Gulf of Tonkin reads: "[Paragraph] 4. [T]he two sides shall demarcate their respective economic zones and continental shelves in the Beibu Gulf and other sea areas in a fair and reasonable way in accordance with the relevant principles of present-day international law of the sea" (Beijing Review [May 4, 1974], p. 17). 30. For the geophysical circumstances of the Sunda Shelf, see Zvi Ben-Avraham and K. O. Emery, "Structural Framework of Sunda Shelf," American Association or Petroleum Geographers Bulletin 57 (1973): 2323-66.

31. Petroleum Economist Uune 1975), p. 206; Oil and GasJournal, (July 16, 1973), p. 80. For further details, see Katsutoshi Murakami, "Tonan ajiani okeru sekyu keizaino doko [Trends of oil development in Southeast Asia] (1)," Refaransu [Reference], no. 297 (1975), pp. 38-39. 32. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Summary of World Broadcast (SWB), pt. 3, Far East, 2d ser., FE/5835/A3, June 10, 1978, p. 8; FE/5894/A3, August 18, 1978, p. 5; FE/5966/A3, November 11, 1978, pp. 8-9; and FE/6024/A3, January 24, 1979, p. 3. 33. Among the coastal states of the China seas, the following maintain 200-mile limits: Japan, for fishing only, May 1977; North Korea, EEZ, August 1977; the Philip- pines, EEZ, May 1979; Taiwan, EEZ, September 1979; and Vietnam, EEZ, May 1977.

34. UNCLOS III, Informal Composite Negotiating Text, rev. 1 (ICNT, rev. 1) (A/CONF. 62/WP. 10/Rev. 1) April 28, 1979, articles 74(1), 83(1) (hereafter cited as ICNT, rev.l). 35. Robert D. Hodgson, to the author, September 21, 1979; see also U.S. Delegation Report, 8th sess., UNCLOS III, Geneva, March 19-April 27, 1979, pp. 3, 33. 36. "Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries," p. 2.

37. For the contentions of China and Japan, see Park, "Oil under Troubled Waters," pp. 253-58. 38. Ibid., maps at pp. 219 and 240. 39. Petroleum News: Southeast Asia (January 1977, 1978, 1979 [feature issues entitled, "Exploration Annual"]).

40. Choon-ho Park and Hungdah Chiu, "Legal Status of the Paracel and Spratly Islands," Ocean Developntent and International Law Journal 3 (1975): 1-28; Choon-ho Park, "The South China Sea Disputes: Who Owns the Islands and the Natural Resources," ibid., 5 (1978): 27-59; Beijing Review (May 4, 1979), p. 17; Viet Nam's Sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes, Vietnamese White Book (September 27, 1979), abridged in FBIS (Asia and Pacific) (October 1, 1979), pp. KI-KI3, and reproduced in full in UN Doc. A/34/541:S/13565, October 19, 1979; and the Chinese rebuttal, Some Documentary Evidence Showing That the Vietnamese Governments Recognized the Xisha and Nansha Islands as Chinese Territory, reproduced in UN Doc. A/34/712:5/13640, November 23, 1979. 41. According to ICNT, rev. 1, "Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf" (pt. 8, "Regime of Islands," article 121, par. 3). , 42. Chen Dong-kang, Wo guo de nan hai zhu dao, 2d ed. (Peking: Zhongguo Qingnian Chubanshe, 1964), pp. 31-32: English trans. of the 1st ed. in JPRS (n. 5 above), no. 18-424 (1963), pp. 24-25; and Huang jiu-shun, Zhongguo dili gailun (The natural geography of China) (Hong Kong: Shanghai Shuju), p. 85. 43. Nihon keizai shinbun, Tokyo (August 3, 1976), p. 4; Petroleum News: Southeast Asia (January 1977), p. 37.

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