Asia is currently the scene of some of the most high-profile maritime disputes in the world. Even though the majority of states in Asia are parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS], its dispute settlement system has only been utilized in a handful of cases. Given that negotiations have brought about limited results in easing many of the tensions, it is worth asking whether the UNCLOS dispute settlement system can play a role in the resolution of maritime disputes in Asia. This paper, based on a review of the disputes before UNCLOS Tribunals, as well the advantages and limitations of the system, argues that the UNCLOS dispute settlement system can make meaningful contributions to resolving thorny disputes between Asian states. It does so by providing a solution to the disputes brought before them, clarifying the legal framework for the conduct of the parties and facilitating co-operation amongst countries in the region.
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