Maritime boundary delimitation, excessive claims and effective regime building in the South China Sea
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The world was a much simpler place when countries could only claim a three nautical mile (nm) territorial sea. Then maritime boundaries were not required unless countries were adjacent to each other on the same piece of land, or had territories lying within six nm of each other. When the territorial sea was the limit of a country's maritime jurisdiction, boundary differences had little effect on the relative size of jurisdiction that a country could claim and maritime boundary negotiations between neighbouring countries were comparatively straightforward. All this has changed. Countries now require maritime boundaries if they ha.ve territory within 400 nm of each other (and more in situations where the countries have an entitlement to an extended continental shelf), and the location of a boundary can have a large effect on the size of a country's maritime jurisdiction. It is little wonder that since the acceptance of the extended man time Jurisdiction allowed by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the pace of maritime boundary delimitations has slowed down.
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