04 March 2014
Our proposal that China bring its maritime claims into conformity with international law and UNCLOS in particular has been critiqued by Professor Raul ‘Pete’ Pedrozo of the US Naval War College as “problematic” and “counterproductive”. We beg to differ. While he offers an interesting perspective and is entitled to his own views of China’s policy on the South China Sea, we believe that several of his points warrant a rejoinder.
IN HIS response to our joint commentary, Professor Raul ‘Pete’ Pedrozo of the US Naval War College articulates six reasons why our proposal “will not work”. The first two points raised are the assertion that China has no legitimate claim to sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and that our proposal “rewards Beijing for its illegal occupation of the Paracel and Spratly Islands”.
These comments disregard the fact that we intentionally left issues of territorial sovereignty out of our proposed formula for a paradigm shift in the South China Sea disputes. Thus, we did not address the merits of China’s claim (or those of any other claimant State) to sovereignty over any disputed islands in the South China Sea. Further, we did not suggest that any of the other claimants should acquiesce to China’s claim to sovereignty over the islands.
… Robert C. Beckman is the Director of the Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Professor Clive Schofield is the Director of Research at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resource and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, Australia.
RSIS / Online
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19 February 2014
China could trigger a paradigm shift in the disputes in the South China Sea if it were to issue charts indicating the outer limit of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims from the islands over which it claims sovereignty. A full effect ‘equidistance line’ from the largest islands towards the surrounding coasts would create a large area of overlap between the EEZ claims of the ASEAN claimants and the EEZ claim of China from the disputed islands. This could lead to possible provisional arrangements of a practical nature, including joint development zones, in the areas of overlapping claims.
CALLS ON China to clarify its maritime claims in the South China Sea have been reopened following the testimony on 5 February 2014 by US Assistant Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific Daniel Russel, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
Mr Russel stated that the United States takes a strong position that maritime claims must accord with customary international law, and that this means all maritime claims must be derived from land features and otherwise comport with the international law of the sea. He further stated that claims in the South China Sea that are not derived from land features, such as those apparently based on China’s so-called nine-dash line, are fundamentally flawed. He called upon China to clarify or adjust its maritime claims so as to bring them into accordance with the international law of the sea.
… Robert Beckman is the Director of the Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological
RSIS / Online
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