Since the establishment of modern China following World War II, both China and Taiwan have claimed nearly the entirety of the South China Sea as their own.

The countries established such a claim with a Nine Dash Line throughout the region that, Beijing and Taipei assert, show how the entirety of the South China Sea belongs to them.

Whether the Nine Dash Line has any basis in international law or not, it is far from the most ridiculous basis for a claim that China has over the sea.

Chinese Admiral Yuan Yubai.

1US Navy Photo

Instead, Chinese Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai was responsible for the most ridiculous claim for why all of the South China Sea belongs to Beijing.

Speaking at a defense conference in London on September 14, 2015, Yuan said that “the South China Sea, as the name indicates, is a sea area that belongs to China.”

“And the sea from the Han dynasty a long time ago where the Chinese people have been working and producing from the sea,” Yuan continued.

Yuan’s remarks came following a comment at the conference by Japanese Vice Admiral Umio Otsuka, who said that deterrence was becoming increasingly important throughout East and South Asia. To back up his views, Otsuka pointed at China’s expansionism throughout both regions.

After Yuan responded to Otsuka that the region belonged to China due to the sea bearing China’s name, Yuan took a slightly more conciliatory measure by saying that “the real situation in the South China Sea at present is safety and freedom of navigation.”

Currently, the various islands and atolls in the South China Sea are claimed and disputed by a mix of countries, principally by Taiwan, Vietnam, China, the Philippines.

(Click to enlarge)

south china sea map_05.pngMike Nudelman/Business Insider