SEOUL, July 10 (UPI) -- Seoul aims to expand its territorial claims in a section of the East China Sea that may include vast oil and natural gas reserves, a minister said.
Seoul will submit claims to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to petition for the right to develop parts of the Okinawa Trough, a subsea basin in the East China Sea.
"It is our basic stance that our continental shelf stretches to the Okinawa Trough," a South Korean Foreign Ministry official was quoted by the Platts news service as saying during a background briefing.
Seoul launched a similar effort in 2009 that earned criticism from China, which claims the subsea feature as its own. China disputes the claim.
Platts reports Japan abandoned oil and natural gas exploration activity in the region because reserves there weren't considered economically feasible to develop. Seoul, however, has commercial oil and natural gas reserves on the eastern section of its continental shelf.
According to a U.N. treaty, countries with maritime borders hold exclusive rights to offshore resources in an economic zone extending 200 nautical miles from their coast.
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