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U-Shaped Line and Maritime Delimitation

Dots and Lines in the South China Sea: Insights from the Law of Map Evidence

South China Sea

Dots and Lines in the South China Sea: Insights from the Law of Map Evidence

Erik FRANCKXand Marco BENATAR

Asian Journal of International Law

Volume 2 / Issue 01 / January 2012, pp 89-118

Abstract

On 7 May 2009, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) protested Vietnamese and joint Malaysian-Vietnamese submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). In support of Chinese claims, a map was annexed to the letter of protest portraying a dotted U-shaped line engulfing the greater part of the South China Sea. Following a brief primer on the genesis of the U-line, this article aims to decipher the text of the protest letter accompanying the U-line, suggesting several possible interpretations. This contribution argues that the map is of doubtful probative value in the light of various factors fleshed out in international jurisprudence regarding map evidence. Attention will be paid to the reactions of third-party…

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