Functional Jurisdiction in the Law of the Sea

Functional Jurisdiction in the Law of the Sea – Download >>

It is a commonplace observation that the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes a framework for the Law of the Sea that is based upontwo different concepts. One is a zonal analysis, which takes the juridicalzones into which the seas are divided and stipulates the basic rules applica- ble to each of them in turn. The other is a topical analysis, taking some of themain activities on the seas, such as fishing, marine research and pollution,and again setting out the basic rules for each.

The framework is, however,incomplete, and a great deal is left open, not only to be worked out in moredetailed treaties but also to be governed by more general principles of inter-national law. In this way the 1982 regime will continue to develop to meet new challenges and changed circumstances.

In this monograph Dr Gavouneli explores these issues and offers an expertinsight into the jurisdictional developments that are clearly discernable aquarter-century after the adoption of the Convention. Her keen analysismoves from fundamental principles governing jurisdiction in internationallaw to shrewd reflections on the significance of current developments suchas the Proliferation Security Initiative and questions of jurisdiction over theinternational seabed area. This thoughtful text will be of real interest to allwho have a concern with the directions in which the contemporary Law of the Sea is growing.

Vaughan Lowe
Oxford, August 2007

Functional Jurisdiction in the Law of the Sea – Download >>

The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes: Beyond Hydrocarbons in the South China Sea

Published:October 3, 2022 – Author: Tabitha Grace Mallory

Feature Map: Biodiversity in the South China Sea

Read the full report

We need only call to mind the first half of 2022 for an array of the extreme, energy-related global challenges we all face. Around the world, local versions of climate change effects—the temperatures, wildfires, droughts, storms, flooding—underscore how important it is for us to transition away from our overdependence on fossil fuels. And our energy sources don’t just have environmental implications but security ones as well. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the latest rendition of the resource curse. At the heart of it all, fossil fuels are what enabled and amplified the murderous narcissism we see in Vladimir Putin and created a country with an unbalanced and unhealthy domestic economy able to profoundly destabilize energy flows and prices around the world.

The South China Sea (SCS) brings together its own assortment of these complex challenges and factors. Competing security concerns, resource needs, and nationalisms shape the motivations of the claimants. Much of the attention and conflict has centred on the oil and gas in the seabed. Estimates of SCS hydrocarbon volumes vary; only some of these resources are proven reserves that have been confirmed and measured, and are actually recoverable. But even in more generous assessments, the SCS only provides us with a small percentage of the global total of oil and gas reserves, and even less of the overall energy mix if we include non-fossil-fuel energy sources.

Beyond hydrocarbons, in a two-way tie with the adjacent Coral Triangle, the SCS has the highest level of marine biodiversity in the world. SCS fisheries feed and employ millions of people in the region. It’s true that conflict over these living marine resources also drives the territorial disputes in the region, and a wide variety of human activity degrades the SCS ecosystem. Yet drilling for hydrocarbons in the SCS threatens this vulnerable marine habitat even more, while also clearly contributing to geopolitical and security tensions in the region—and to climate change.

Given how destabilizing oil and gas pursuits have been for the SCS since the 1970s, we might ask ourselves whether we want to keep drilling for fossil fuels there. Do the costs and risks outweigh the benefits?

Download this 21-page report (button above) from Dr. Tabitha Grace Mallory, an inaugural John H. McArthur Research Fellow, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and the Founder of China Ocean Institute and Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

Below, explore the rich marine biodiversity of the South China Sea, one of the most hotly-contested maritime jurisdictions on the planet, in this original map created by the author and APF Canada graphic designer Chloe Fenemore, based on historical and contemporary maps cited in the full report.

Feature Map: Biodiversity in the South China Sea

Tabitha Grace Mallory

Tabitha Grace Mallory is the Founder of China Ocean Institute and Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. Dr. Mallory specializes in Chinese foreign and environmental policy. She conducts research on China and global ocean governance and has published work on China’s fisheries and oceans policy.

Dr. Mallory is an inaugural John H. McArthur Research Fellow, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada launched in 2021 to provide research opportunities for exceptional, mid-career scholars who are working on programs and research areas with direct relevance to Canada and Canada’s interests in Asia.

After 40 years, UNCLOS remains significant to Vietnam

This photo taken on 20 August 2022, shows a worker sorting a fresh catch of fish at Sa Ky port on Vietnam’s offshore Ly Son island. Ly Son island, situated north-east of central Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province, is the country’s closest island to the disputed Paracel archipelago in the South China Sea region. (Photo: Nhac Nguyen / AFP)

Why UNCLOS Matters

fulcrum – PUBLISHED 20 SEP 2022


Editor’s Note:

This article is part of “UNCLOS 40th Anniversary Series – Why UNCLOS Matters” conceptualised by the Blue Security programme. The series, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, brings together established and emerging maritime security scholars from Southeast Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific to address the pertinence and relevance of UNCLOS. Blue Security brings together Australian and Southeast Asian experts to look at a range of maritime security issues across the region. The series was developed by Dr. Troy Lee-Brown and Dr. Bec Strating. It is published in collaboration with the team at Fulcrum.

UNCLOS’s relevance to Vietnam is significant, but the Convention must be updated if Vietnam and other signatories are to succeed in dealing with contemporary challenges in maritime affairs.

Tiếp tục đọc “After 40 years, UNCLOS remains significant to Vietnam”

United Nations Charter – History of UN Charter

United Nations Charter

Hiến Chuơng Liên Hợp Quốc bản tiếng Việt >>


The Charter of the United Nations is the founding document of the United Nations. It was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945.

The United Nations can take action on a wide variety of issues due to its unique international character and the powers vested in its Charter, which is considered an international treaty. As such, the UN Charter is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it. The UN Charter codifies the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.

Since the UN’s founding in 1945, the mission and work of the Organization have been guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter, which has been amended three times in 1963, 1965, and 1973.

The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, functions in accordance with the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which is annexed to the UN Charter, and forms an integral part of it. (See Chapter XIV, Article 92

Visit the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library’s collection of translations of the UN Charter.

Find the full text of the UN Charter, or read about the history of its making.

Tiếp tục đọc “United Nations Charter – History of UN Charter”

Đại sứ Bùi Thế Giang: Nhiều nước mạnh, giàu, phát triển hơn Việt Nam vẫn chưa trở lại được HĐBA LHQ

DVTừng là Phó Trưởng Phái đoàn Đại diện Thường trực Việt Nam tại Liên Hợp Quốc (LHQ) từ cuối 2007 đến đầu 2012, trong đó có 2 năm 2008 & 2009 là Phó Đại diện Việt Nam tại Hội đồng Bảo an (HĐBA) LHQ, đến giờ Đại sứ Bùi Thế Giang vẫn giữ thói quen theo dõi lịch làm việc hàng ngày của HĐBA LHQ. Với nhiều người, những sự kiện Việt Nam tham gia chỉ là một dòng tin, nhưng Đại sứ Bùi Thế Giang phân tích với cái nhìn của người trong cuộc.

Tiếp tục đọc “Đại sứ Bùi Thế Giang: Nhiều nước mạnh, giàu, phát triển hơn Việt Nam vẫn chưa trở lại được HĐBA LHQ”

US Department of State – Republic of China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea

Download full report >>

Executive Summary

This study examines the maritime claims of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the SouthChina Sea. The PRC’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“Convention”).

The PRC asserts four categories of maritime claims* in the South China Sea:

• Sovereignty claims over maritime features. The PRC claims “sovereignty” over more than one hundred features in the South China Sea that are submerged below the sea surface at high tide and are beyond the lawful limits of any State’s territorial sea. Such claims areinconsistent with international law, under which such features are not subject to a lawfulsovereignty claim or capable of generating maritime zones such as a territorial sea.

• Straight baselines. The PRC has either drawn, or asserts the right to draw, “straight baselines” that enclose the islands, waters, and submerged features within vast areas of ocean space in the South China Sea. None of the four “island groups” claimed by the PRCin the South China Sea (“Dongsha Qundao,” “Xisha Qundao,” “Zhongsha Qundao,” and“Nansha Qundao”) meet the geographic criteria for using straight baselines under the Convention. Additionally, there is no separate body of customary international law that supports the PRC position that it may enclose entire island groups within straight baselines.

• Maritime zones. The PRC asserts claims to internal waters, a territorial sea, an exclusive economic zone, and a continental shelf that are based on treating each claimed South China Sea island group “as a whole.” This is not permitted by international law. The seaward extent of maritime zones must be measured from lawfully established baselines, which are normally the low-water line along the coast. Within its claimed maritime zones, the PRC also makes numerous jurisdictional claims that are inconsistent with international law.

• Historic rights. The PRC asserts that it has “historic rights” in the South China Sea. Thisclaim has no legal basis and is asserted by the PRC without specificity as to the nature orgeographic extent of the “historic rights” claimed.

The overall effect of these maritime claims is that the PRC unlawfully claims sovereignty or someform of exclusive jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea. These claims gravely underminethe rule of law in the oceans and numerous universally-recognized provisions of international lawreflected in the Convention. For this reason, the United States and numerous other States haverejected these claims in favor of the rules-based international maritime order within the SouthChina Sea and worldwide.

* Islands in the South China Sea over which the PRC claims sovereignty are also claimed by other States. This studyexamines only the maritime claims asserted by the PRC and does not examine the merits of sovereignty claims toislands in the South China Sea asserted by the PRC or other States. The United States takes no position as to whichcountry has sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea, which is not a matter governed by the law of the sea.

Limits in the Seas



This series, issued by the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs in the Department of State, aims to examine coastal States’ maritime claims and/or boundaries, and assess their consistency with international law.  The studies represent the views of the United States Government only on the specific matters discussed therein and do not necessarily reflect an acceptance of the limits claimed.

Tiếp tục đọc “Limits in the Seas”


Michael K. Orbach, Professor of Marine Affairs & Policy
Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, NC, USA
(Paper presented at “Good Governance for Sustainable Marine Development”,
Cascais, Portugal, June 3 to 5, 2013


Since the early 1600s, ocean policy has been defined by the concept of the “freedom of the seas”, crafted basically because no single maritime power was powerful enough to control ocean space.

The first incursion on total freedom of the seas came in the 1790s with the establishment of the 3-mile Territorial Sea, initiated by the new United States to ward off their old rulers the British, but soon adopted universally by coastal nations. Tiếp tục đọc “MANAGING THE WORLD’S OCEANS – A BRIEF HISTORY OF OCEAN POLICY AND MANAGEMENT”

Nhóm học giả luật quốc tế phản bác quan điểm của chuyên gia nước ngoài về lập trường của Việt Nam ở Biển Đông

TGVN – 07/10/2021 – 10:28

Trong bài viết đăng trên Asia Times, nhóm tác giả Trần Hữu Duy Minh, Hoàng Thị Ngọc Anh, Nguyễn Hải Duyên* đã phản bác lại quan điểm Việt Nam là quốc gia vi phạm luật quốc tế ở Biển Đông, bên cạnh Trung Quốc. 

Nhóm học giả luật quốc tế phản bác quan điểm của chuyên gia nước ngoài về lập trường của Việt Nam ở Biển Đông
Trung Quốc bồi đắp xây dựng trái phép các đảo nhân tạo thuộc quần đảo Trường Sa của Việt Nam. (Nguồn: Viettimes)

Trung Quốc không tôn trọng luật quốc tế

Trong bài báo được Asia Times đăng tải gần đây, học giả Mark Valencia khẳng định “Trung Quốc không phải là bên sai trái duy nhất ở Biển Đông, mà Việt Nam cũng vậy”. Cách nhìn này đang hiểu sai bản chất chính sách của Trung Quốc ở Biển Đông.

Tiếp tục đọc “Nhóm học giả luật quốc tế phản bác quan điểm của chuyên gia nước ngoài về lập trường của Việt Nam ở Biển Đông”

Tiếng nói chung của thế giới về Biển Đông

Biên Phòng – Thanh Trúc 26/09/2021 – 14:13

Mới đây, Mỹ và Australia đã tiến hành cuộc tham vấn thường niên theo cơ chế “2+2” lần thứ 31, trong đó nhấn mạnh tới những quan ngại về Biển Đông, cũng như đề cao việc thượng tôn luật pháp quốc tế, bao gồm Công ước Liên hợp quốc về Luật Biển năm 1982 (UNCLOS).

(Từ trái qua phải) Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Australia Peter Dutton, Ngoại trưởng Australia Marise Payne, Ngoại trưởng Mỹ Anthony Blinken, Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Mỹ Lloyd Austin trong cuộc gặp tại Thủ đô Washington, Mỹ trong tuần trước. Ảnh: REUTERS

Tiếp tục đọc “Tiếng nói chung của thế giới về Biển Đông”

Issuing Presidential Statement, Security Council Underlines Importance of Maritime Safety, Safeguarding Oceans for Legitimate Use

9 AUGUST 2021

Biển Đông: Trung Quốc cần thay đổi hành vi vì lợi ích của chính mình -  VietNamNet

Maritime security is being undermined at an alarming pace by challenges around contested boundaries, the depletion of natural resources and armed attacks — from piracy to terrorism — senior United Nations officials told the Security Council today, as world leaders adopted a presidential statement outlining their concerns over the increasing frequency of such events.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2021/15) presented by the Prime Minister of India, Council President for August, the 15-member organ noted the problem of transnational organized crimes committed at sea — including illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, smuggling of migrants and illicit trafficking in firearms — as well as the “deplorable” loss of life and adverse impact on international trade stemming from such activities.

Tiếp tục đọc “Issuing Presidential Statement, Security Council Underlines Importance of Maritime Safety, Safeguarding Oceans for Legitimate Use”

Phán quyết của Tòa Trọng tài: Vẫn là cơ sở mạnh mẽ mà không cần sự công nhận của Trung Quốc *

THÁI AN 08/07/2021 09:00 

Các quan chức và chuyên gia cho rằng, phán quyết của tòa trọng tài quốc tế 5 năm trước là dấu mốc quan trọng và vẫn là cơ sở hữu ích để giải quyết hòa bình các tranh chấp ở Biển Đông.

Tòa trọng tài ở La Hay tổ chức tranh tụng kín từ ngày 7-13/7/2015 cho vụ kiện của Philippines đối với Trung Quốc liên quan đến yêu sách phi pháp của Trung Quốc về Biển Đông. (Nguồn: PCA)
Tòa trọng tài ở La Hay tổ chức tranh tụng kín từ ngày 7-13/7/2016 cho vụ kiện của Philippines đối với Trung Quốc liên quan đến yêu sách phi pháp của Trung Quốc về Biển Đông. (Nguồn: PCA)

Phán quyết mà Tòa Trọng tài đưa ra ngày 12/7/2016 mang tính chung thẩm. Philippines kiên quyết bác bỏ các nỗ lực nhằm phá hoại phán quyết này.

Trước thềm kỷ niệm 5 năm chiến thắng mang tính bước ngoặt của Philippines trước Trung Quốc, ngày 25/6, Ngoại trưởng Philippines Teodoro Locsin Jr. tuyên bố: “Ngày kỷ niệm là một dịp để nhìn lại quá khứ, đánh dấu thành tựu của hiện tại, nhìn về tương lai và tìm cách làm việc cùng nhau vì lợi ích chung, vì không thể đạt được lợi thế nhỏ nào nếu vi phạm nó”.

Tiếp tục đọc “Phán quyết của Tòa Trọng tài: Vẫn là cơ sở mạnh mẽ mà không cần sự công nhận của Trung Quốc *”