Do you think China has a legitimate claim to the South China Sea?
Japan thought it did at one time too, that ended badly for them if I remember.
No, the Spratlys are closest to the Philippines and Malaysia.
International law says a max of 12 miles.
What constitutes as making a claim legitimate?
weird wording: what enables a claim to be legitimate or not?
Having a base in international law or rightful ownership.
Rightful ownership is very subjective though. And who's to say the most legitimate claim is the best claim. The USA wouldn't exist if the people with the most legitimate claim to the land had kept it.
I get that the same laws didn't exist back then, but regardless, it seems most claims made on land or sea are just who has the most power to enforce their claim.
It is subjective, that is why I am asking what people think.
They have rights to mile or two. The whole sea, no way.
About as much as the US does to the Gulf of Mexico or Britain does to the English Channel and Irish Sea.
Little-known fact: Chinese military navy vessels engage in petty piracy throughout the Sea of China. Yet the Chinese are assuring the world that they only claim that sea in order to protect ships from piracy. Very Mafia of them.
Anybody that has ever looked at a map can't say China has one shred of legitimacy in their claims in the South China Sea. Take a look for yourself.
The entire sea? No. They have their borders.
Meh. If they got the military power to enforce their claim, then yes they do.
No. The open seas belong to everyone. Coastal waters can be restricted to a certain distance, but I don't believe that applies in this case.