Spratlys - Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands) of China

Collection | Spratly Islands Maps | Spratly Islands History | Spratly Islands Photos | Spratly Islands News

Spratlys > Collection > Claims > Malaysia

Malaysia's claims on Spratly Islands and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

Malaysia's basis for occupying certain islands in the Spratlys group - Swallow Reef, Dallas Reef and Ardasier Reef - is their claim that these are part of the continental shelf. However, continental shelf is not a basis for a claim to title over islands. It is a basis for a claim to the resources of the shelf.

Concepts like the continental shelf,and particularly the exclusive economic zone as defined in the Law of the Sea Convention, were developed outside concerns regarding sovereignty over land territory.

The Law of the Sea Convention does not treat questions of sovereignty over land territory. When it says that a state can measure its exclusive economic zone from the baselines drawn over islands, the assumption is that the state can show that these islands belong to it already. The state cannot work backwards and say that it has an exclusive economic zone and, therefore, certain islands belong to it. The state may only say this is my territory and, therefore, my exclusive economic zone is this far.


Copyright ©2003-2006 www.spratlys.org. Last updated on 2006-02-10