Nien-Tsu Alfred Hu, "Semi-enclosed Troubled Waters: A New Thinking on the Application of the 1982 UNCLOS Article 123 to the South China Sea", Ocean Development & International Law, Vol. 41:3, pp. 281-314
Semi-enclosed Troubled Waters: A New Thinking on the Application of the 1982 UNCLOS Article 123 to the South China Sea
NIEN-TSU ALFRED HU
Part IX of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea deals with one particular kind of “special maritime situations and features”—“enclosed or semi-enclosed seas.” There are only two articles within Part IX. Article 122 provides a descriptive deﬁnition of these maritime features. Article 123 stipulates cooperation among States bordering an enclosed or semi-enclosed sea as a treaty obligation while putting forward three substantive “spheres” in which bordering States can coordinate among themselves to perform such a treaty obligation. The South China Sea ﬁts this wording and is in need of a cooperative mechanism in order to reduce the potential tension and conﬂicts in the region. By examining the practices of cooperation among bordering States in two other semi-enclosed seas, the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea respectively, this article draws certain lessons for the bordering States of the South China Sea to consider for their potential application of Article 123.
Keywords: Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, regional cooperation, semi-enclosed seas, South China Sea