The South China Sea Disputes and Law of the Sea

The South China Sea Disputes and Law of the Sea

NUS Centre for International Law series

Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh and Robert Beckman

South China Sea Disputes And Law Of The Sea explores in great detail the application of specific provisions of UNCLOS and how the framework of international law applies to the South China Sea. Offering a comprehensive analysis of the individual topics and their application to the South China Sea region, each chapter of the book provides a substantive and rigorous investigation into the history, development and application of the relevant legal principles. It is written within the global context so that lessons learned from this exercise will have global implications. Contributors include former judges from ITLOS, legal advisors to States who participated in the negotiation and drafting of UNCLOS, as well as outstanding scholars of both law and geography, many of whom have acted as counsel or experts in cases before international court and tribunals.

Chapter 7: Rights and obligations in areas of overlapping maritime claims

David Anderson and Youri van Logchem

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, maritime law, public international law


This chapter examines the rights and obligations of coastal States which have advanced claims to maritime sovereignty or jurisdiction over the same area, and discusses some special aspects of overlaps in the South China Sea. There exist many areas of overlapping claims where the claimant States have not agreed on the delimitation of a maritime boundary. The expansion of the maximum limits of coastal State sovereignty and jurisdiction witnessed in the second half of the twentieth century increased significantly the number of overlaps. In the typical case, there are two claimants, but in some instances there are three or even four. Most often, the claimants are making similar claims, whether to territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf, but in certain situations the claims may differ in that one State claims a territorial sea and the other claims an EEZ or continental shelf. The existence of areas of overlapping maritime claims can give rise to problems in inter-State relations, both between claimant States and in the relations between a claimant State and third States. Disagreement and conflict over the unilateral conduct of activities is fairly common in maritime areas where the question of the boundary is actually in dispute.

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