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Title: The contested waters of the East China Sea : resolving the dilemma of entitlement and delimitation
Author: Olorundami, Fayokemi
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 2708
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis considers the maritime boundary dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea in an attempt to resolve the dilemma of continental shelf entitlement and delimitation. The dispute concerns how to delimit a maritime boundary where the parties rely on the different basis for continental shelf entitlement provided for in Article 76(1) of UNCLOS, namely natural prolongation and distance, and the area to be delimited is less than 400 nautical miles when measured from the coasts of both States. China asserts its entitlement based on natural prolongation to the outer edge of the continental margin, while Japan claims a 200 nautical mile distance continental shelf. Using the doctrinal approach, this thesis notes that delimitation must be carried out in accordance with entitlement and focuses on an analysis of the meaning of Article 76(1), enquiring into the role of natural prolongation in the establishment of the outer edge of the continental margin beyond 200 nautical miles. It re-assesses the ICJ's decision in the Libya/Malta case where it was held that unless the delimitation area is at least 400 nautical miles, natural prolongation is irrelevant. This thesis considers the status of natural prolongation under customary international law and UNCLOS, arguing that natural prolongation is a valid basis for continental shelf entitlement. In critiquing the Libya/Malta decision, this thesis argues that there is no 400 nautical mile rule in UNCLOS, that the determination of each State's entitlement must be conducted on an individual basis, the length of the delimitation area being immaterial. Arguing that the two criteria of natural prolongation and distance are equally valid, this thesis found that they could be applied simultaneously over the same area to determine the area of overlapping entitlements, which is then the area to be delimited. Other connected issues to this dispute including the role of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Island dispute and the duty of States in disputed maritime areas are also discussed in relation to the main delimitation question. On the basis of the analysis, two options for delimiting the East China Sea were considered: the three-stage methodology and an alternative involving the use of a median line to divide the area of overlapping entitlements. In both methods, the position taken was that natural prolongation and distance should be reflected as relevant circumstances. Thus, it was acknowledged that both methods could produce similar results. However, the second option was shown to be preferable as it is embodies the quality of objectivity compared with the threestage methodology where adjusting the line in the second stage to take account of relevant circumstances proved to be subjective and unpredictable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Territorial waters ; Boundary disputes ; East China Sea