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On Cooperation in Joint Development

Prospect for the joint development of Hydrocarbon resources in the South China Sea

Prospect for the joint development of Hydrocarbon resources in the South China Sea

Leonardo BERNARD

Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore

Conference on Maritime Confidence Building Measures in the South China Sea, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, August 2013

In areas with multiple claimants, such as the South China Sea, it may be difficult for the claimants to resolve disputes through negotiation, especially if disputes over sovereignty over territory are also involved. The law that applies to sovereignty disputes is customary international law pertaining to the acquisition of territory as articulated by international courts and tribunals. Sovereignty disputes can only be subjected to third party dispute settlement through the consent of the disputing parties. Given the national sensitivities associated with sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, it is unlikely that the disputes will be resolved in the near future through third party dispute settlement. It is generally agreed that the most viable interim solution is for the claimants to set aside the sovereignty disputes and jointly develop the natural resources. Such arrangements can take the form of provisional arrangements of a practical nature, as called for in Articles 74 and 83 of 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This paper discusses four issues:

1. Joint Development as a Provisional Arrangement of a Practical Nature

2. Political Will of the Claimants

3. Joint Development Arrangements Adopted “Without Prejudice”

4. Defining Areas for Joint Development

Read the full text at http://cil.nus.edu.sg/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bernard-ASPI-Draft-6-Aug-2013-Prospect-for-Joint-Development-in-the-SCS.pdf [PDF]

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