Environmental Issues in the South China Sea: Legal Obligation and Cooperation Drivers

Nguyen Chu Hoi, Vu Hai Dang


Recently, we have been witnessing a critical level of a the degradation of the marine environment and depletion of fish stocks in the South China Sea. This has many adverse consequences on the politics, economics of the countries in the region as well as on the socio-economic life of the coastal population. One of the activities that has been causing serious damage to the marine environment and living resources of the South China Sea is the large-scale land reclamation and artificial island construction undertaken by China in the Spratly and Paracel islands recently. These activities have caused severe harm to the precious coral reef environment and thus, violated the obligation to preserve and protect fragile ecosystems and the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species under the international law of the sea

The paper explores the impact of China’s large-scale land reclamation and artificial island construction activities on the marine biodiversity of the South China Sea, explains what the legal obligation under the international law of States to protect and preserve the marine environment is and suggests a number of options in order to bring a halt to such activities and restore the damaged marine ecosystem. The paper puts particular emphasis on the cooperation drivers torwards a healthy, prosperous and peaceful South China Sea, which also contribute to the management and possibly, resolution of the current disputes in this region.

Keywords: marine environmental issues, legal obligation, cooperation drivers, large-scale reclamation, artificial islands, blue solutions and fragile ecosystems.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijlpa.v1i1.3260


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International Journal of Law and Public Administration   ISSN 2576-2192 (Print)     ISSN 2576-2184 (Online)

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