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U-Shaped Line and Maritime Delimitation

The South China Sea: “Disputed waters” everywhere?

South China Sea

The South China Sea: “Disputed waters” everywhere?

Huy Duong

RSIS Commentary (2012)

Synopsis

Since 2011, the disputes over maritime space in the South China Sea have involved not only which country has sovereign and jurisdictional rights over an area, but also whether an area constitutes disputed waters. This is an important question that must be answered with certain principles.

Commentary

China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation has, on 23 June 2012, invited bids for nine blocks for oil & gas exploration in the South China Sea. The blocks lie inside Vietnam’s declared Exclusive Economic Zone, bounded to the West by China’s “U-shaped line”, and extending to 57 nautical miles off the Vietnamese mainland.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on 26 June 2012 that this area “lies entirely within Viet Nam’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf … It is absolutely not a disputed area”. China’s MOFA responded that…

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