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"...The proposal outlined in this paper is modest and practical and in view of the current deadlock in the South China Sea.  Ambitious proposals that call for wide sweeping agreements on a legal or political basis cannot make any headway in this dispute while the claimants insist on their sovereign claims.  The stalemate may suit governments which are interested in demonstrating effective occupation of islands to support their legal claims, but it will not allow them to exploit energy resources without stimulating tensions and conflict.  The positive incentive of maritime energy cooperation and all its benefits is required to move beyond the stalemate. This means building on existing efforts to exploit the resources of the area which have been undertaken by claimants separately and in their own claim zones.  The extension of these efforts within a multilateral framework which could be coordinated by ASEAN is not impossible though it would demand a major change in ASEAN’s attitude towards the issue.  ASEAN’s passivity towards the range of problems and issues it now faces is a barrier to its future development and it should take the initiative over an issue of vital importance to its future.  ASEAN has the status to promote this this proposal and by doing so it would strengthen its role in the Asia Pacific region"

"...It is optimistic that all parties concerned agree to use international law to resolve the disputes in the South China Sea. In the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, China and ten ASEAN members solemnly declared their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 UNCLOS, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and other universally recognized principles of international law which shall serve as the basic norms governing state-to-state relations. The parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes on the basis of universally recognized principles of international law. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea is a document of political will, not a legally-binding code. However, it is of great importance since it represents the political aspiration and consensus among parties. It can be taken for granted that if all the parties act in the spirit of the declaration, i.e. working toward the adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea and voluntarily assume obligations to safeguard the stability and security of the sea, we can hope for genuine stability and security there."


"The paper has two main aims. First, to outline and examine the Sino-Vietnamese approach to managing border disputes. Second, to assess the lessons, relevance and implications of the Sino-Vietnamese approach on the South China Sea situation. The paper provides an overview of the Sino-Vietnam approach to managing border disputes in the period since full normalization between China and Vietnam in late 1991. This overview includes both progress made in terms of conflict management and challenges faced in terms of tension. The lessons drawn from the Sino-Vietnamese approach and experience are derived from the overview. This is followed by a discussion relating to both the relevance and the possible implications of the Sino-Vietnamese experience and the lessons drawn from it on the situation in the South China Sea. The paper is concluded by a summary of the main findings and some concluding remarks..."


"...Based on photographic evidences gathered by the author from various official and non-official open sources, all claimants, with the exemption of Brunei, have been consolidating their civilian and military presence in the Spratlys to assert their territorial claims. Though there seems to be a de -escalation of conflict in the South China Sea with the adoption of DOC in 2002, renewed security tensions have occurred in the late 2007 indicating the limitations of DOC in managing territorial disputes and perpetuati ng the maritime security dilemma in one of the contested waters in the Asia Pacific. Beyond  doubt,  the territorial disputes in the South China continue to play a destabilizing role in the security of the Asia Pacific region.   There is therefore a great need to increase transparency and to enhance confidence-building among claimants and other stakeholders in the disputes to effectively overcome the security dilemma in the South China Sea and decisively create a cooperative management regime necessary for regional peace and stability"

Prof. Zou Keyuan, Harris Chair in International Law, Lancashire Law School, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom
"...International law has established an obligation on States to cooperate in suppression of piracy and grants States certain rights to seize pirate ships and criminals. According to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention), all the countries have the obligation to “cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State", and “every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board".
However, the definition on piracy in the LOS Convention only applies to this international crime on the high seas or areas beyond the jurisdiction of any state, thus limiting its application to similar criminal acts in the territorial seas and maritime areas close to the coasts. Having realized that many piratical incidents did occur in the waters of national jurisdiction, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed a functional definition for the crackdown on piracy: while detaining the meaning of the LOS Convention definition on piracy, the IMO definition has been added “armed robbery against ships”, which has become a most popular applicable definition for the purpose of anti-piracy operations. This definition has now been accepted by the United Nations Security Council as well as incorporated into the 2004 Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). As a result, there are now in fact two definitions in international law: one is contained in the LOS Convention while the other in the ReCAAP. Though both legally defined, their applicability is different: while the former limits its applicability to the high seas, the latter applies to all sea areas whether national or international. However, it is to be noted that in comparison with the LOS Convention, the ReCAAP is only a regional agreement applicable to the Asian region..."
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South China Sea Studies

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