In recent years, China has increasingly used military and law-enforcement vessels, civilian ships and fishing boats to expand its presence within the U-shaped line and try to turn the waters within the line into Chinese maritime zones. At the same time, China has not yet officially clarified its claim and legal basis for the line, leading to a lot of speculations from the scholar community. There are different views and various possible interpretations of the legal status of the U-shaped line among Chinese and non-Chinese observers. This paper will examine the legal basis of all of these possible interpretations; try to find the official position of Chinese government regarding to the line and analyze reactions from international community. Then, it will conclude with suggestions for China (both mainland and Taiwan) to bring the line into conformity with international law, particularly the UNCLOS 1982, to defuse ambiguity and tension in the region.



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