The South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone: International Law of the Sea Issues
Revue Générale de Droit International Public, Vol. 105, pp. 617-645, 2001
36 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2009 Last revised: 16 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2001
This article deals with the problems related to the inclusion of the exclusive economic zones and continental shelves of the contracting Parties in the nuclear weapon-free zone created by the Treaty of Bangkok. In particular, the article discusses whether the limitations imposed on third States are consistent with the 1982 Montego Bay Convention on the Law of the Sea. As far as the EEZ is concerned, it seems that the limitation on the freedom of navigation of nuclear armed vessels is not consistent with the 1982 Convention. However, a more restrictive practice appears to be emerging, aimed at submitting the transit of dangerous vessels through the EEZ to the consent of the coastal State (emphasis is placed on the declarations concerning the recent cases of the maritime transport of plutonium from Europe to Japan). As to the continental shelf, the relation is analysed between the Treaty of Bangkok and the Seabed Treaty: the main issue is whether the two treaty regimes are compatible. The inclusion of the continental shelf in the nuclear weapon-free zone is consistent with the Convention of Montego Bay and it reveals the existence of a customary rule forbidding the placement of nuclear weapons on the seabed beyond twelve miles from the territorial sea baseline.
Note: Downloadable document is in French.
Keywords: nuclear weapon-free zones, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, nuclear ships, mox shipments, Montego Bay Convention
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation