The South China Sea Dispute

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Jantree Sinsuparerk


There are two groups of Islands in the South China Sea that are being disputed concerning territorial sovereignty between states. They are Paracels and Spratlys. The Spratly Islands consist of more than 140 islets, rocks, reefs, coral reefs, shoals, atolls and other geographic features spread over an area of more than 410,000 square kilometers (km2). All of the Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. Many of the features of the Spratly Islands also fall within the Kalayan Island Group, claimed by the Philippines. The South China Sea dispute between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines appears in the Award on the South China Sea by an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, the dispute between the Philippines and China has not yet been settled now by the Award as shown by China’s present activities after the Tribunal issued the Award.

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Jantree Sinsuparerk, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University