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Development and Settlement of Disputes, The South China Sea Arbitration: the Republic of Philippines vs. the People's Republic of China, U-Shaped Line and Maritime Delimitation

The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its relevance to maritime disputes in the South China Sea

South China Sea

The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its relevance to maritime disputes in the South China Sea

Donald R. Rothwell
Professor of International Law, College of Law, Australian National University

While the Philippines [Annex VII Arbitration] application raises a number of issues with respect to China’s claim to both land and maritime features in the South China Sea, it has been drafted in order to avoid questions of territorial sovereignty and also historic title. Ultimately, however, this will be a threshold issue for the Arbitral Tribunal to determine. If the Tribunal does come to the view that it retains jurisdiction, then its determination of the Philippines claim would be the first by an international court or tribunal of the disputed law of the sea issues that exist in the South China Sea. In that respect the judgment would have implications for a number of the other…

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