Topic A: Territorial Disputes and Underwater Resources
The need of raw resources push the nations to discover into the ocean to acquire the raw materials that support economic growth. Factor that leads the success of the exploration is advanced drilling technology to dig the underwater resources. It makes the access of natural resources easier thus many of energy companies become more willing to expend high ammount of money on that technology to explore the ocean bed. However, ocean bed area of a country limited to another country ocean bed border and this leads to overlapping and claiming in a territory to extend the reachable underwater resources. This condition causes bigger conflict that involve politic and military power, especially inSouth China Sea and Arctic Circle.
The South China Sea is an area that consist of Paracels and Spratly Archipelagoes, this area claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. Most of their claims are based on historical records. The conflict began when Chinese forces attacked Vietnamese to ended the vietnam’s presence on Paracels Island. Moreover, China strengthened its military presence on Paracel Island and trying to reach the Spratly archipelagoes that early claimed by Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei. This last three countries claim based on UNCLOS. After the collapse of USSR and decrease in American strategic interest in ASEAN, China rises and become preponderant country in that region so South East Asian country worried about it and have embraced multilateralism as the way to resolve the regional disputes and have encouraged China to join it. The economies of the claimants grow at a rapid rate, so their need of natural resources (mineral and fishery) will grow as well and it causes each of the claimants wants to make sure about their ability to take control the exploration in the region without external intervention from another claimants but also the
countrythat have strong economic interest in the region including Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and even the United States of America and it makes the issue heated up again.
Climate change that melted the ice on arctic unveil the seabed that contains oil gas reserves, fishery and shipping lanes leads competing claims of the area by United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark to gain resource exploration rights. Most of them use military power to maintain their sovereignty in the arctic even in May 2008, arctic countries adopt UNCLOS declaration to resolve the disputes and agreed the Antartica Treaty that banned the mineral exploitation, military presence and sovereign land claims.
Finland appreciates the research and development in science that improve the drilling technology and recognize that the need of raw materials to support economics growth is very fair, but finland does not justify the exploitation of raw resources greedily that causes the territorial disputes.Finland believes that to restrain the disputes, every countries which involved should obey the UNCLOS declaration and resolve the problem through the multilateral forum in the area of disputes.
Finland is highly dependent on shipping for its foreign trade. In 1999, 76 percent of its foreign trade (both imports and exports) went through Finnish seaports. The share of shipping is even more predominant with Finnish exports, reaching 91 percent (Tulli). Thus, Finland upholds the treaty that supportsthe state of using the shipping lanes for peaceful purpose and resist every military presence that prevent the peaceful purpose reached.Finland, a member of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement, needs to pay special attention to its border surveillance at sea. It is a matter of national interest for Finland, and for the European Union as well, to protect the safety and integrity of its shores.