The Uncertain Status of the Korea-Japan Joint Development Agreement of the Continental Shelf and Its Prospects

In: Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy
Suk Kyoon Kim Professor, Department of Coast Guard Studies, Hanseo University, Seosan, Korea

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As the expiration date of the Japan-Korea joint development of the continental shelf in the East China Sea comes closer, the joint development agreement is becoming a hot issue between Korea and Japan. The Joint Development Zone (jdz), established under the joint development agreement, is set to expire in 2028 unless the two countries agree otherwise. Despite not having any commercially significant discovery of oil and gas in the jdz, it has served as a provisional arrangement to manage peacefully the disputed continental shelf in the tri-junction where China also claims jurisdiction. Given its significant role in the peaceful management of overlapping marine resources and jurisdiction claims over decades, the two countries need to engage in negotiations to come up with a solution to the pending issues concerning the development of the jdz. The jdz area has the potential to become a flashpoint of conflicts in the strained relations between the two countries, if the agreement expires without any provisional or permanent arrangements.

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