27 The Chinese Traditional Maritime Boundary Line in the South China Sea and Its Legal I Consequences for the Resolution of the Dispute over the Spratly Islands Zou I<eyuan* Research Fellow, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore ABSTRACT China's traditional maritime boundary line, commonly known as the U-shaped line in the South China Sea, has been queried frequently in various circles, whether governmental or academic, on its real meaning. This article addresses the legal implications of this line for the Spratly Islands dispute, including, inter alia, the origin and evolution of the line, China's attitude towards and practice relating to the line, reactions from other South China Sea countries, the relevance of the line to the concept of historic waters and other law of the sea concepts, and the potential role to be played by the line in the future delimitation of maritime boundaries in the South China Sea. Background The South China Sea is categorised as a semi-enclosed sea under the general definition set down in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 1 Article 122 of the LOS Convention defines an "enclosed or semi-enclosed sea" as "a gulf, basin, or sea surrounded
The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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