China versus Vietnam: An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea
Raul (Pete) Pedrozo
CNA Occasional Paper, 2014
This occasional paper by Raoul “Pete” Pedrozzo, a respected international legal expert, was commissioned as part of a study looking at U.S. policy options in the South China Sea (SCS). Using international case law associated with sovereignty disputes, this legal analysis explores whether China or Vietnam has the better claim to the Paracel Island group and the Spratly Island group in the SCS. This analysis was undertaken to provide U.S. policy makers with a comprehensive legal interpretation of the incredibly complex international law issues at play in the SCS. Importantly this was not done to set the stage for making a recommendation to change long established U.S. policy of not taking a position on the legal merits of respective sovereignty claims. In fact, this analysis confirms the wisdom of that policy. Although the author finds that Vietnam’s claims are superior to China’s, as the forward indicates other legal analysts have looked at the same information and reached the opposite conclusion. In short none of the various claimants has what might be considered an open and shut legal case.
Download the report at China versus Vietnam – An Analysis of the Competing Claims in the South China Sea [PDF]