Sovereignty as an obstacle to effective oceans governance and maritime boundary making - the case of the South China Sea
Additional Publication Information
Cooperation for the effective governance of the South China Sea has proven difficult to achieve because the bordering countries have become fixated on their claims to sovereignty over offshore features and maritime space. This paper argues that this fixation on sovereignty is misplaced because due to the complex geography of the South China Sea and the multiple bordering States, a conventional system of straight line maritime boundaries, which would allow maritime jurisdiction on the primary basis of sovereignty, will be impossible to achieve in many parts of the sea. Thus the bordering countries should change their mindsets from one of sovereignty, sole ownership of resources and seeking ‘fences in the sea’ to one of functional cooperation and cooperative management of the South China Sea and its resources. This would be in accordance with both the obligation of bordering countries under Part IX of LOSC and the spirit of the 2002 ASEANChina Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).