China's Historic Rights in the South China Sea: A Time for Reconsideration and Pacific Settlement
Halliden, Brian John
Murphy, Sean D.
Harris, Patricia Roberts
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In recent years, the South China Sea has featured prominently in news headlines concerning territorial disputes and claims to maritime resources involving China, the Philippines and Vietnam. One of the most contentious disputes in the region is China’s so-called nine-dash line claiming historic rights deep into the South China Sea. This thesis argues that China’s historic rights claims in the South China Sea are not supported by public international law and accordingly China should seek a settlement with the Philippines and Vietnam. China should pursue a settlement because the Philippines and Vietnam can present persuasive legal arguments as to why China is not entitled to historic rights in the South China Sea. Also, the ongoing dispute over rights impedes the ability of China and other claimant states to effectively exploit the rich resources of the South China Sea while significantly raising inter-state tensions and threatening regional economies. Further, China’s insistence on maritime claims not in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea encourages other states to assert similar historic rights claims, which could ultimately threaten China’s national security. Finally, China’s alleged interference with other states’ maritime rights in the South China Sea represents an unnecessary litigation risk of having multiple cases brought before international tribunals resulting in damage to China’s international standing.
CIVINS (Civilian Institutions) Thesis document
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