China’s U-shaped Line in the South China Sea Revisited

Zou, Keyuan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2868-4948 (2012) China’s U-shaped Line in the South China Sea Revisited. Ocean Development and International Law, 43 (1). pp. 18-34.

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Despite its existence on the Chinese maps for more than six decades, the U-shaped line, as a traditional maritime boundary line of China in the South China Sea, has never received a wide recognition in the world community, much less by the other claimant states in the South China Sea. The U-shaped line is a legal conundrum not only for China but also for the world community, particularly after the map with the U-shaped line, together with China's Notes Verbale with respect to the claims to the outer continental shelves made by Malaysia and Vietnam, were submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf in May 2009. This article discusses China's recent practice relating to the U-shaped line as well as the external factors that affect the validity of the line and tries to unravel the legal puzzle posed by the line.

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