Multilateral Management as a Fair Solution to the Spratly Disputes

63 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2009 Last revised: 1 Sep 2009

See all articles by Wei Cui

Wei Cui

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 1, 2003


The Spratlys are a scattered group of islands in the South China Sea over which China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei have made conflicting jurisdictional claims. Although there has been significant academic discussion of this dispute, the Author argues that much of it is hampered by a discourse obsessed with the regional balance of power and security-related strategies that are only tenuously related to each nation's specific legal claims in the Spratlys. In this Article, the Author suggests that a more productive approach to the Spratly disputes is one focused on finding a solution that is fair to all the parties. The Article then examines several distinct substantive notions of fairness potentially applicable to the Spratly disputes and applies these notions to various existing proposed solutions, ultimately rejecting proposals that call for an allocation of rights in the Spratlys. Finally, the Author proposes that a multilateral management authority might satisfy each party's interest in fairness, at least in terms of participation in the ongoing process of allocation.

Keywords: Spratlys, South China Sea, Multilateral Management, Adjusted-Winner Procedure

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Cui, Wei, Multilateral Management as a Fair Solution to the Spratly Disputes (June 1, 2003). Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2003, Available at SSRN:

Wei Cui (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law ( email )

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