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U-Shaped Line and Maritime Delimitation

China’s “ U-Shaped Line ” Claim in the South China Sea: Any Validity Under International Law?

South China Sea

China’s “ U-Shaped Line ” Claim in the South China Sea: Any Validity Under International Law?

Masahiro Miyoshi

Ocean Development & International Law 43:1, 1-17 (2012)

The recent claim of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter the PRC or China) to the “U-shaped line” in the South China Sea, enclosing its claimed islands and their surrounding waters, has given rise to a number of objections and protests on the part of the neighboring states on the South China Sea. Strictly speaking it is not a line, but a series of nine broken or dotted lines enclosing vast sea areas involving large and small insular formations to which the PRC has a territorial claim. This extraordinary claim, allegedly based on historic title, has also raised concerns among international lawyers.

One wonders if it is possible or permissible at all to claim a sea area encircled by a series of dotted or…

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