All of the States bordering on the South China Sea are party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The maritime boundary agreements and joint arrangements that have been concluded in the area are largely at the periphery. Considerable oil and gas reserves are speculated to exist in the subsoil of the South China Sea, none of which can be explored and exploited without cooperation among the littoral States.Indeed, those States are obligated by articles 74(3) and 83(3) pending agreement on the remaining maritime boundaries, “in a spirit of understanding and cooperation, [to] make every effort to enter into provisional arrangements of a practical nature and, during this transitional period, not to jeopardize or hamper the reaching of the final agreement. Such arrangements shall be without prejudice to the final delimitation.” This book comprehensively examines such provisional arrangements.
The book is divided into four Parts. The two chapters in Part I, Understanding the South China Sea Disputes, seek to clarify the disputes. Professor Schofield begins this Part with a detailed examination of the geographical and geopolitical factors underlying the disputes. Professor Beckman then discusses how international law, including the law of the sea, bears on these disputes.
Part II on joint development principles, prerequisites and provisions explores in four chapters various aspects of the concept of joint development of resources. Ms. Davenport, now a Fulbright scholar at Yale Law School, discusses the international law governing the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources in areas of overlapping claims. Professor Townsend-Gault considers the various rationales behind off-shore zones of cooperation. Gavin MacLaren, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deriner, and Rebecca Jones, Allens, Melbourne, usefully describe the factors in negotiating joint development agreements. Professor Peter Cameron, University of Dundee, and Professor Richard Nowinski, Tanfield Chambers London, analyze the formal requirements of joint development agreements.
In four chapters Part III examines joint development and other provisional arrangements in Asia. Professor David Ong, Nottingham Law School UK, assesses the implications of recent Southeast Asian State practice for the international law on offshore joint development. Vasco Becker-Weinberg, University of Hamburg, examines the joint development practice in Northeast Asia and the Gulf of Tonkin. Professor Kaye, University of Western Australia, explains the joint development agreements in the Timor Sea. In the last chapter in this Part, Ben Milligan, ANCORS University of Wollongong, examines the Australia-Papua New Guinea Torres Strait Treaty and whether it could be a model for cooperative management of the South China Sea.
Part IV draws conclusions regarding joint development in the South China Sea. In two chapters the editors discuss the factors conducive to joint development in Asia, lessons learned for the South China Sea, and propose ways to move forward on joint development in the South China Sea.
Captain J. Ashley Roach, JAGC, U.S. Navy (retired) was an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State, from 1988 until he retired at the end of January 2009. He was responsible for law of the sea matters.