[PAST EVENT] Law and/or Justice in Territorial Disputes in East Asia
October 28, 2013
The three major territorial disputes in East Asia today are over remote mostly uninhabited small islands: the Liancourt Rocks dispute between the Republic of Korea (and DPRK) and Japan, the Pinnacle Islands dispute between Japan and China (and Taiwan), and the Paracel and Spratly dispute between China (and Taiwan), Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. With the rise of nationalism in East Asia, the disputes over those islands have become serious impediments to regional cooperation. One of reasons for unease comes from the fact that the rules of modern international territory law do not fit the sense of justice of East Asian peoples. Furthermore, the territorial disputes over those islands have been aggravated by the newly created rights to the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. By separating the question of justice from the question of economic interests, we can lower the hurdle to settling these disputes, which would reasonably satisfy the possibly converging perceptions of justice in East Asia.