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Chinese Admiral: South China Sea Belongs To China. Because "China"

International defense officials were eyerolling hard earlier this month after Chinese Admiral Yuan Yubai told a room full of people that the South China Sea belonged to his country because it had the word China in the title.

According to Time, Admiral Yubai made the statement at a September 14 defense conference in London. “The South China Sea, as the name indicates, is a sea area that belongs to China,” he said.

There's no doubt that Vietnam - along with everyone else who calls it the East Sea - disagrees. Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines all lay claim to the body of water, which is home to some of the world's busiest shipping routes and possibly holds oil reserves as well.

US Pacific Command commander Admiral Harry Harris was also having none of Admiral Yubai's nonsense. As China continues building their own artificial archipelago in the East Sea, the United States has previously considered sending military ships to the region and is now pushing the Asian superpower to settle the maritime dispute in international court.

This summer, Admiral Harris referred to China's island expansion project as “changing facts on the ground [by] essentially creating false sovereignty”.

Earlier this year, the Philippines took China to court, citing the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea, however China has refused to acknowledge the lawsuit, claiming that the UN Treaty does not cover sovereignty in the waters off its southern coast.

Meanwhile, Vietnam - and pretty much everyone else - will continue to call it the East Sea and pay their northern neighbor no mind.

[Top image via NBC]

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