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Chapter 13. The China-Japan Dispute over Entitlement in the East China Sea: Legal Issues and Prospects for Resolution

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the issues arising from China's claim that it is entitled to an extended continental shelf in the East China Sea. It argues that international law presently has no clear-cut answer to the question of whether a State is entitled to an extended continental shelf in areas less than 400 nautical miles and arguments can be made to support either position. The chapter suggests that China and Japan should explore avenues to definitively settle issue of entitlement in the East China Sea, so as to pave the way for negotiations on delimitation. The dispute between China and Japan arose in early 1970s, immediately after the seminal North Sea Continental Shelf Cases decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whereby the ICJ addressed the "nature of the legal institution of the continental shelf and thence proceeded to elaborate on principles and rules that would apply to its delimitation".

Keywords: China-Japan dispute; East China Sea; International Court of Justice (ICJ); North Sea continental shelf entitlement



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