Australia has just been confirmed by the United Nations for its maritime extension. Almost all Australian media released news concerning the extension and some even wrote provocative headlines. The Australian (April 21), for example, stated “Australia expands into new territory”. Is it territory that Australia expands?
The term “territory” here did not refer to land territory. In fact, the use of the word “territory” here is inappropriate since the extension concerns the maritime area beyond 12 nautical miles (M) from baseline (coastline). Australia, in fact, has not expanded its territory in terms of sovereignty but maritime jurisdiction (continental shelf or seabed) in the sense of sovereign rights. While for sovereignty a coastal state exercises full control over a certain area, for sovereign rights such coastal states do not have full control but merely utilize resources with particular responsibilities.