Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea

Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea






The South China Sea disputes continue to confuse and confound policymakers. All the countries bordering directly on this sea – China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei – have claimed some or all of the tiny, but strategically located, Spratly Islets and some or all of the maritime space and its resources. All of these claims have serious weaknesses under the principles of international law that govern these issues.

This book offers several possible regional interim solutions to the South China Sea disputes. All of the national claims to both islands and ocean space in the region have weaknesses. An interim solution is urgently needed because the status quo is dangerous and unstable, because of unilateral actions by the claimants and continuing opportunities for involvement by outside powers. Division or allocation of the features and ocean space among the competing claimants seem unfeasible because of their sharp disagreements over the boundaries of the area in dispute as well as what would constitute an appropriate equitable division.

The authors survey the principles that appear to guide the nations of the South China Sea region in their regional relations, and they identify the appropriate objectives of a regional resource authority. They also identify the political realities of the region, which serve as constraints on the design of a regime. The authors propose the creation of a regional multilateral resource management body as a solution to reduce the tension currently rife in the region. The options presented serve as illustrations designed to stimulate constructive discussion on a comprehensive multilateral interim solution to these difficult and dangerous disputes.

Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea will be of interest to international decision-makers, negotiators, and academics desirous of a peaceful solution to these disputes.

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