Beyond the limits?: outer continental shelf opportunities and challenges in East and Southeast Asia
This article examines the process by which certain coastal states in East and Southeast Asia may confirm their sovereign rights over areas of continental shelf more than 200 nautical miles from their baselines — areas commonly termed the “outer” or “extended” continental shelf. The article provides an overview and explanation of this legally and technically complex process. It also highlights some of the numerous issues and uncertainties in respect of both the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the international law of the sea and practical aspects of the implementation of the process itself. Many states around the world, including in East and Southeast Asia, are striving to meet a deadline for submissions related to the outer continental shelf of May 2009. Existing and potential submissions are outlined. The potential opportunities and challenges associated with outer continental shelf are then discussed.