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51 Or. L. Rev. 789 (1971-1972)
The Legal Status of the Continental Shelf of the East China Sea

handle is hein.journals/orglr51 and id is 799 raw text is: DONALD R. ALLEN*
PATRICK H. MITCHELLt
The Legal Status of
The Continental Shelf
Of the East China Sea
NTERNATIONAL LAW              does not provide an easy solution to
boundary delimitation on the continental shelf of the East China Sea
and in fact can be used to support several competing positions. In any
future negotiation of boundaries each interested nation can be expected
to rely on the particular position that will give it the greatest possible
portion of the shelf. The present desire of the countries bordering on
the East China Sea to extend their sovereignty over as much of the
shelf as possible probably is due to recent reports of large oil deposits
beneath the sea floor. In 1969 a committee of the Economic Commission
for Asia and the Far East stated that the continental shelf of the East
China Sea might contain one of the most prolific oil and gas reservoirs
of the world, possibly comparing favorably with the Persian Gulf.',
The probability of oil under the East China Sea necessitates solving the
complicated problem of sovereignty over the shelf. This article identifies
the continental shelf boundary problems of each of the interested states,
examines the legal basis for their possible claims, and analyzes the com-
peting claims to determine a reasonable range of solutions under inter-
national law.
I
THE CONTINENTAL SHELF OF THE EAST CHINA SEA
A. Physical Features
Comprising a total area of approximately 480,000 squares miles,2 the
*Member, District of Columbia Bar; A.B. (1964), Cornell; J.D. (1967),
University of California at Los Angeles.
t Member, California and District of Columbia Bars; A.B. (1963), Willamette;
J.D. (1969), Stanford.
1 COMMITTEE FOR COORDINATION OF JOINT PROSPECTING FOR MINERAL RE-
SOURCES IN ASIAN OFFSHORE AREAS OF THE ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR ASIA
AND THE FAR EAST, REPORT, SIXTH SESSION 10, U.N. Doc. E/CN.11/L.239 (1969).
2 OFFICE OF THE GEOGRAPHER, U.S. DEP'T OF STATE, BULL. No. 3, SOVEREIGNTY
OF THE SEA 18 (rev. 1969).

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