Japan’s note is the latest in series of recent criticisms of China’s position, joining submissions to the U.N. from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the United States.
This backlash suggests that China’s excessive claims and its assertive behavior are setting off alarm bells in in a growing number of capitals—both in Southeast Asia and beyond. “By joining the United States and several European and Asian nations in formally protesting China's claims, Japan is joining a diplomatic (and maybe operational) effort to reject specific elements of China's South China Sea claims,” said Isaac Kardon, an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval War College.
In its submission, Japan explicitly rejects China’s claim that the “drawing of territorial sea baselines by China on relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea conforms to UNCLOS and general international law.”