--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 23
EDITORIAL: China must not hinder freedom of navigation in South China Sea
(社説)南シナ海問題 中国は航行の自由守れ

Tensions are mounting between the United States and China in the South China Sea, where several countries are locked in bitter disputes concerning their territorial claims.
さまざまな国の領有権の主張が絡みあう南シナ海で、米国と中国の緊張が高まっている。

The United States is poised to send naval ships or aircraft to areas near artificial islands China has been building through land reclamation. The Obama administration has decided to take the action to challenge Beijing’s territorial claims to these islands.
中国が埋め立てて造った人工島の近くに、米軍の艦船か、航空機を派遣する。オバマ政権がその方針を固めた。

Under international law, a country’s territorial waters are defined as a belt of coastal waters extending up to 12 nautical miles from the shores of the country. But U.S. forces will enter what China claims to be its territorial waters around the man-made islands to make clear Washington’s rejection of Beijing’s unilateral claims.
国際法では領土から12カイリ(約22キロ)が領海とされるが、米軍はあえて通航し、中国の一方的な主張を認めない姿ログイン前の続き勢を示そうとしている。

China has no right to protest Washington’s decision. There are no legal grounds for China’s territorial claims to the islands it has built or the waters around them.
これに中国が反発するのは、筋違いである。人工島の領有権も領海の主張も、説明のつくものではない。

Even if these were Chinese waters, international rules require China to allow foreign military ships to sail through them freely as long as they are only exercising the right of “innocent passage,” or peaceful transit not harmful to the good order or security of the coastal state.
仮に領海内だとしても、軍艦の航行が、いわゆる「無害通航」ならば、認めるのが国際ルールだからだ。

No country should undermine the maritime principle of freedom of navigation based on international norms.
どの国であれ、国際規範に沿った「航行の自由」という海洋の原則を曲げてはならない。

Any country’s attempt to change these basic maritime rules at its own discretion is unacceptable, especially in the South China Sea, through which one of the world’s most important sea routes passes.
とりわけ世界有数の重要海路である南シナ海で、独断によるルール変更は許されない。

What is worrisome is how China will react to the U.S. military’s move. A direct confrontation between the forces of the two countries could create a dangerously tense and volatile situation in the Western Pacific region.
懸念されるのは、米軍のそうした行動に対する中国の反応である。米中の軍同士が直接対峙(たいじ)すれば、西太平洋地域は一気に緊迫しかねない。

A military clash between the United States and China must be averted at any cost. The U.S. military obviously should refrain from any unnecessary provocation while operating in the areas.
万が一にも軍事衝突に発展させてはならない。米側は航行に踏み切っても無用な挑発は避けるべきなのは言うまでもない。

The blame for the rise in tension in the South China Sea rests with China. The Chinese government should comply with international rules and restrain itself to prevent any unexpected security emergency from occurring.
この緊張を招いた大きな責任は、中国の側にある。国際規範を守り、不測の事態が生じぬよう自制すべきだ。

China’s arguments for its territorial claims concerning the disputed areas are unreasonable in the first place. China asserts it has jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea, but there is no solid legal foundation for this claim.
そもそも中国の主張には無理がある。南シナ海のほぼ全域に「管轄権がある」というが、法的根拠は乏しい。

China’s demand that military ships obtain its permission before they pass through its territorial waters, which is based on its 1992 territorial sea law, is also unacceptable.
92年に定めた領海法で、軍艦が領海内を通るには中国の許可が必要としているのも受け入れがたい。

The current situation requires China to make a crucial choice between developing as a country that complies with international rules or going down the dangerous path of changing the status quo by force, ignoring international rules.
中国が国際ルールを守る国として発展するか、それを無視して「力による現状変更」に進むのかの分岐点となる。責任ある大国として分別を示すときだ。

The Chinese government, however, is showing some signs of softening its attitude. It has said the artificial islands will be used mainly for “private-sector services” and proposed to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work together to develop a “code of conduct” to avoid clashes in the South China Sea.
中国側には軟化の兆しも見える。人工島建設について「民間サービスが主」と釈明し、東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)に対しては、南シナ海での衝突回避のための「行動規範」づくりを働きかけている。

This is the time for China to demonstrate that it has good sense as a responsible major country.
(中国にとっては、これは、責任ある大国としての良識を示す機会である)

The situation will also test the international community’s approach to dealing with the assertive China.
国際社会も、中国にいかに向き合うのかが試される。

The coming weeks will offer some good opportunities for the leaders of the countries concerned to discuss the issue, such as a summit of the Group of 20 industrial nations and a meeting of the leaders of members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, both slated for November. These opportunities should be used to explore ways to secure stability in the South China Sea.
来月の主要20カ国・地域(G20)首脳会議や、アジア太平洋経済協力会議(APEC)首脳会議など各国首脳が顔をそろえる機会を通じて、南シナ海情勢を安定させる道筋を探りたい。

The situation also has huge implications for Japan, where new national security legislation was recently enacted. Japan must not forget that its principal role is not military involvement but diplomatic work to help build unity among countries.
安保法制が成立した日本も、最大の役割は軍事的関与ではなく、国際社会の結束を築く外交面にあることを忘れてはならない。

Japan needs to use its close relations with ASEAN for tenacious efforts to ease tensions in the South China Sea.
ASEANと日本のパイプを生かし、粘り強く緊張をほぐす努力が求められている。

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