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International Law and the Peaceful Resolution of Disputes: Asian Perspectives, Contributions, and Challenges

  • Tommy KOH (a1)

Abstract

Asian governments tend to be more sensitive about their sovereignty than governments in the contemporary West. Therefore, when differences occur and disputes arise, Asian governments tend to insist that they be resolved through bilateral consultations and negotiations. The reality is that, very often, the differences and disputes remain unresolved after years and even decades of negotiations. When left unresolved, some of these disputes have a tendency to contaminate the bilateral relationship as a whole. This is a great pity, because the disputes may revolve around relatively minor issues compared to the many other areas in which the two countries have convergent interests. Asian governments should therefore consider resolving such disputes by other peaceful means.

What are other modalities for the peaceful resolution of disputes? They are: (i) conciliation; (ii) mediation; (iii) fact-finding; (iv) arbitration; and (v) adjudication.

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Ambassador-at-Large, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Chairman, Center for International Law at NUS; Vice-President, Asian Society of International Law (writing in his personal capacity).

Footnotes

References

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1. United Nations, [2007] XXVII Reports of International Arbitral Awards 1 at 1–134.

2. Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, 15 August 2005. See the excellent book by MERIKALLIO, Katri, Making Peace: Ahtisaari and Aceh (Helsinki: WS Bookwell Oy, 2006).

3. Case Concerning Land Reclamation by Singapore in and Around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v Singapore), Request for Provisional Measures, Order of 8 October 2003, [2003] ITLOS Case No. 12, online: ITLOS 〈http://www.itlos.org/case_documents/2003/document_en_230.pdf〉.

4. Case Concerning Land Reclamation by Singapore in and Around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v Singapore), Decision of 1 September 2005, [2007] XXVII Reports of International Arbitral Awards 133 at 133–45.

* Ambassador-at-Large, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Chairman, Center for International Law at NUS; Vice-President, Asian Society of International Law (writing in his personal capacity).

International Law and the Peaceful Resolution of Disputes: Asian Perspectives, Contributions, and Challenges

  • Tommy KOH (a1)

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