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Should the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Be Classified as Islands or Rocks? An Examination in Light of the South China Sea Arbitration Award

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
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  • 1 University of GreenwichLondonUK
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Abstract

In July 2016, an Arbitral Tribunal handed down its award in the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China. In addition to considering the legal status of the controversial nine-dash line, the Tribunal also provided the first judicial interpretation of Article 121 of the LOSC, thereby shedding light on what maritime features may be regarded as islands and not rocks within the meaning of that article, and therefore entitled to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf. This article considers the decision reached by the Tribunal, and the views expressed in the literature, applying them to an analysis that attempts to answer whether the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (sovereignty over which is disputed by China and Japan) in the East China Sea would qualify as islands, and thus entitled to an EEZ and as a continental shelf, or as rocks and therefore not so entitled.

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