J Ashley Roach
This chapter examines the legal regime of artificial islands, as well as installations and structures, in the law of the sea, its treatment in the Final Award of the Arbitral Tribunal in the matter of the South China Sea Arbitration (Philippines v China), and the implications of the Award. The environmental considerations regarding the construction of these artificial islands, and the Tribunal’s criteria for deciding the status of the naturally formed features in the South China Sea, including those on which the artificial islands were constructed, have been considered in earlier chapters and will not be discussed in this chapter.
J Ashley Roach
This chapter examines the relationship between the criteria developed by the Arbitral Tribunal for distinguishing a rock from other islands with the environmental protection duties of all states, which the Award did not do. It suggests the Award is not an adverse precedent for those states claiming an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from rocks. The chapter also reviews state practice in this regard, which the Tribunal did not address in detail in its Award. The chapter concludes that the Tribunal’s criteria must be carefully applied to the facts and circumstances of each high-tide feature in assessing whether each feature is entitled to a continental shelf/EEZ or only a territorial sea, and predicts that few states will change their position on such features.