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Home Database The Seventh International Conference on SCS
The Seventh International Conference on SCS

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Prof. Michael Sheng-ti Gau, Institute of Law of the Sea, National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan

A critical but ignored issue is the consequences of withholding those Sino-Philippine SCS (un-submitted) core disputes by the Philippines. Would these consequences undermine the effectiveness of the award of this Arbitration? To what extent will such consequences affect the Sino-Philippine relations in the SCS after this Arbitration is over? Having completed an in-depth research on this issue, the author concludes that Philippines’ partial submission of its multi-layered SCS disputes with China will turn the award of this Tribunal totally useless in terms of resolving the confrontations between the Parties indicated by Philippines’ Memorial. It concerns the Tribunal when approaching the stage of producing the first award on the jurisdiction and admissibility issues for this case. This paper advises the Tribunal to apply Article 27(2) of its Rules of Procedure and to terminate the arbitral proceedings as its continuation is unnecessary due to such inefficacy of the award in the merits phase.


Prof. Alex Oude Elferink, Director of Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

International law figures prominently in any discussion concerning the South China Sea disputes. International law provides a tool for determining which of the claimant States has sovereignty over the disputed islands and contains rules for determining the maritime entitlements of the disputed islands and thee delimitation of these entitlements with those of the coasts surrounding the South China Sea. Most of the analysis in relation to international law focusses on determining the content of the applicable law and how it should be applied in the context of the South China Sea. The presentation instead proposes to focus on how international law is argued by the parties to the South China Sea disputes. In this connection particular attention will be paid to the pending arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea between the Philippines and China.


Prof. Herman Joseph S. Kraft, Associate Dean for Administration and External Affairs, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Philippines

The situation in the South China Sea has always been described as a potential hotspot since the disputes between multiple claimants to the land features and the surrounding water therein intensified in the late 1980s. This has perhaps never truer in the last ten years when the status quo of a “live and let live” situation was largely shaken by Chinese actions undertaken in response to what the Chinese government claimed were violations by other claimant states of that “live and let live” regime based on the ASEAN-brokered Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOCS). Whether or not these Chinese actions were justified, these have turned what used to be a “potential” hotspot into a crisis-prone situation. What makes the situation more dangerous is the overarching context of the intensifying competition between China and the United States.


Prof. Robert Beckman, Director of Center of International Law, National University of Singapore  

This presentation argues that as a way forward, the claimant States should agree to “set aside the sovereignty and boundary delimitation disputes” and cooperate on matters such as sustainable management of fisheries, protection of the marine environment and marine scientific research. It argues that the claimants should also cooperate to prevent and manage potential threats to maritime security in the South China Sea. It further argues that cooperation should include a serious consideration of establishing joint development arrangements to manage and share the resources in defined areas in the South China Sea. 

The presentation examines the legal basis and rationale for such cooperation. It emphasizes that it is critically important from the outset to specifically provide that any discussions or negotiations on such cooperative arrangements are “without prejudice” to the final resolution of the sovereignty disputes and the final determination of maritime boundaries


Prof. Robert G. Volterra, Partner of Volterra Fietta (Law Firm), UK

UNCLOS envisages that the delimitation of maritime boundaries will be the result of, first and foremost, agreement and, if not, then by third party dispute resolution. In the interim period before States have reached agreement on the delimitation of their maritime boundaries (or where their determination by a tribunal is pending), States are under an obligation to exercise self-restraint and to try to cooperate in relation to the disputed maritime area.  To this end, Articles 74(3) and 83(3) represent a compromise between promoting hydrocarbon exploitation activities in a disputed maritime area and preventing unilateral activities there pending its delimitation.  They set out legal rules of conduct that are compulsory and directive. Self-restraint and cooperation are critical components of an inter-State normative framework for stability and security.  This presentation considers the meaning and scope of those obligations.

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South China Sea Studies

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