Navigation in the South China Sea: Why Still an Issue?

Zou, Keyuan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2868-4948 (2017) Navigation in the South China Sea: Why Still an Issue? International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 32 (2). pp. 243-267. ISSN 09273522

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The safety of navigation remains an issue in the sense that navigation through the South China Sea is essential for world seaborne trade and communications, and the lingering territorial and maritime disputes would constitute a threat to the safety of navigation there. In recent years, the term ‘freedom of navigation’ has become a pivotal expression in the rivalry between China and the United States in the South China Sea. This paper starts with addressing the international legal framework concerning navigation, followed by state practice in the South China Sea, including domestic legislation
and safety measures. It then discusses the issue of military activities in the exclusive economic zone and their implications for the freedom of navigation. The paper identifies several issues connected to navigation, such as the U-shaped line, law
enforcement patrols, and the recent South China Sea Arbitration. A brief conclusion is provided at the end.

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