Dredge Your Way to China? The Legal Significance of Chinese Reclamation and Construction in the South China Sea

(2017) 2 Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy 25-51

U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2017-18

28 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017

See all articles by Matthew T. Stubbs

Matthew T. Stubbs

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Dale Stephens

Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE)

Date Written: December 4, 2017

Abstract

This article examines five of the most important legal issues arising from Chinese reclamation and construction in disputed areas of the South China Sea. First, does the construction have any impact on competing territorial claims in the South China Sea? Second, does the construction affect rights to maritime zones? This involves consideration of the differing legal significance of islands, rocks, low tide elevations and artificial islands, the relevance of land reclamation and construction in this context, and the resulting implications for maritime zones including territorial seas, eezs and safety zones. Third, are there other legal consequences arising from the Chinese activity (for example, on environmental grounds)? Fourth, does the construction bolster any potential ability of China to impose an Air Defence Identification Zone in the South China Sea? Fifth, what is the significance – legally and practically – of the award in the South China Sea Arbitration?

Keywords: South China Sea, reclamation, island, rock, maritime zones, adiz, legitimacy

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Stubbs, Matthew T. and Stephens, Dale, Dredge Your Way to China? The Legal Significance of Chinese Reclamation and Construction in the South China Sea (December 4, 2017). (2017) 2 Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy 25-51, U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2017-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3082601

Matthew T. Stubbs (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia
+61883133530 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/matthew.stubbs

Dale Stephens

Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE) ( email )

SA 5005
Australia
+61 (0)8 8313 5937 (Phone)

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