Journal Article

The Application of Article 121 of the Law of the Sea Convention to the Selected Geographical Features Situated in the Pacific Ocean

Yann-huei Song

in Chinese Journal of International Law

Volume 9, issue 4, pages 663-698
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 1540-1650
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1746-9937 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chinesejil/jmq031
The Application of Article 121 of the Law of the Sea Convention to the Selected Geographical Features Situated in the Pacific Ocean

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Article 121(3) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea states that “Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.” If any of the geographical features situated in the Pacific Ocean are considered “rocks” that fail the tests of habitation or economic viability, they will not be entitled to their own 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. However, the paragraph and the tests contained in the article give rise to various questions of interpretation, which have become one of the main sources of maritime disputes between the countries concerned. This article examines the interpretation and possible application of Article 121 to five selected insular features that are situated in the Northern, Eastern and Western Pacific Ocean, namely Baker Island, Howland Island, Clipperton Island, Douglas Reef (Okinotorishima) and Marcus Island (Minamitorishima).

Journal Article.  16390 words. 

Subjects: International Law

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