This documentary explains the legal process by which coastal countries claim access to valuable seabed resources outside the three-mile statutory limit set by international law.
In 1945 President Truman issued the Proclamation on the Continental Shelf, claiming all seabed resources on the US continental shelf* for the purpose deep sea oil drilling.
In 1982, the United Nations formalized the granting of seabed claims by creating the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). By definition, the EEZ extends 200 miles beyond a nations coastline. This UN mandate was subsequently modified to allow coastal countries with continental shelves extending more than 200 miles to claim the entire area as national territory.
In 1997, the UN General Assembly created the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The latter is a body of 21 geologists who assess geologic data countries submit to document their continental shelf boundaries.
Often the continental shelf of neighboring countries overlaps. For example Canada, Norway and Russia all claim the Arctic Ocean – believed to hold 10% of the world’s remaining oil reserves.
In the South China Sea, eight countries are fighting over $100 billion worth of resources.
*The continental shelf is an underwater landmass which extends from a continent, resulting in an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea.
This is a German documentary (in English) about China’s Silk Road* projects, commenced in 2013 based on an agreement between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Silk Road will consist of a network of superhighways and high speed trains connecting China to western Europe via Kazakhstan and Russia.
In China, the Silk Road begins at Chongqing, a western city of 30 million dubbed the Chinese Silicon Valley for computer hardware. At present, Europe imports most of their computers from China. At present, it takes them four months to reach China by sea. With the completion of the overland Silk Road network, this time could be reduced to a month or less. Shipping goods overland also enables Chinese companies to avoid growing tensions with the US in the South China Sea.
The Kazakh leg of the Silk Road, which is being funded by World Bank and Chinese loans, runs past the Kazakh oil fields – with China importing much of its oil from Kazakhstan.
In China, the Silk Road superhighway network runs alongside the Gobi Desert, where China’s largest solar and wind farms are located.
*The Silk Road was a centuries-old trade route connecting Asia with Europe. China has invested billions of dollars in building superhighways and high speed networks along the Silk Road route through Kazakhstan and Russia.