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International Arbitration of Maritime Delimitation: An Alternative for East Asia?

Chao Wang

JEAIL Volume 7, Number 2(2014), 427-442


International arbitration, as a neutral, flexible, efficient and binding legal means of dispute resolution, has been effective in settling maritime delimitation disputes, especially in recent years since the UNCLOS came into force. There are a number of reasons (i.e. advantages) for its increased popularity. Reasonable expectations thus arise as to its applicability onto similar maritime delimitation disputes of the East Asian countries whose diplomatic efforts have mostly failed to address these matters. This article examines this practical issue primarily from the legal perspective by reviewing relevant international rules including the UNCLOS provisions on compulsory dispute resolution and cases such as the ongoing Philippines-China arbitration over the South China Sea. Observations are also made from the political and cultural perspectives as well. It concludes that, though multiple dispute settlement means are still encouraged, international arbitration could be an important alternative for East Asian countries seeking a peaceful solution to their maritime delimitation disputes.

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