The International Straits Regime: Notes on Uncertainties and “Other” Straits in the Northeast Asia-Pacific Region

In: Cooperation and Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region

Abstract

The international straits regime set out in Part iii of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is universally recognized as one of the critical components of the overall package-deal that has led to the Convention being ratified by 168 States.

The first part of this contribution will point out a number of continuing legal uncertainties concerning the unclos international straits regime including:

if a waterway in question has the status of historic internal waters of a coastal State, can that waterway be a strait used for international navigation?

– what constitutes a strait used for international navigation?

– what are routes of similar convenience in the context of straits between an island and the mainland?

As most attention on international straits in the Asia-Pacific region is on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the second part of this contribution will look briefly at some the other Straits in the region such as: the Jeju Strait (Korea); the Korean Strait (Japan-Korea); and the Strait of Hainan/Qiongzhou (China).

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