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China starts maritime border talks with ROK

The first round of vice-ministerial-level talks was held on Dec 22 between China and the ROK over their overlapping claims on exclusive economic zones in the Yellow Sea.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and his ROK counterpart Cho Tae-yul. China says it hopes the talks will set an example for regional countries to solve similar issues.

From 1996 to 2008, China and the ROK held 14 rounds of director-level negotiations over the demarcation. President Xi Jinping and his ROK counterpart Park Geun-hye agreed to launch negotiations during President Xi’s visit to the ROK in July last year. This year would see negotiations on the demarcation of maritime boundaries amid tension over overlapping exclusive economic zones.

A point in question is Suyan Rock, a submerged feature in the waters of the exclusive economic zones claimed by both. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has maintained the stance that ownership should be determined through negotiations. The ministry says the current consensus is that the rock does not have territorial status.