Doctrinal approaches to the South China Sea island and maritime jurisdiction disputes have traditionally invoked the international law on territorial sovereignty acquisition and the law of the sea for their resolution. However, neither of these two fields of international law and their established institutions has succeeded in settling these disputes. This paves the way for consideration of other, related but less historically and politically significant international legal developments establishing constraints against the activities undertaken on and around many of the South China Sea insular formations. In this paper, the potential for international environmental law to resolve the South China Sea disputes will be examined. Specifically, international environmental law governing ‘shared’ water bodies and their application in relevant international case law will be assessed. These obligations will be mapped onto the South China Sea disputes, with a view to providing the means for co-operation towards the resolution of these disputes.
T.T. Thuy‘Construction in the South China Sea: A Comparative View’Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative Website15 February 2015 <amti.csis.org/construction-in-the-south-china-sea-a-comparative-view/> visited on 27 April 2015.