On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal formed under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea issued its decision on the proceeding brought by the Philippines against China relating to certain activities in the South China Sea. The Tribunal’s decision was hotly anticipated as it dealt with various important issues relating to law of the sea and the interpretation of the Convention. It dealt with issues including the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, the legal status of maritime features, historic rights, and duty to preserve the marine environment. Although it remains to be seen whether states will follow the Tribunal’s precedent, questions arose on whether such precedent can be applied to other unresolved issues in other parts of the world. This paper looks at the application of the precedent established by the South China Sea arbitration to the situation involving Dokdo between Korea and Japan.
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