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The first feature that catches the eye when the Baltic is compared with other regions of the world is that the Baltic Sea area clearly distinguishes itself by the unusual combination of two elements. On the one hand, it is surrounded by nine countries adhering to different political as well as economic systems. On the other hand, apart from a relatively short segment south and southeast of the island of Bornholm between Denmark and Poland, a maritime boundary has been agreed upon in all other areas, at least if one disregards the trijunction points connecting these different lines. In the overwhelming majority of cases, moreover, a single maritime boundary has been established (continental shelf as well as fishery and economic zone). Some doubt may exist with respect to the German-Danish boundary, but the only real exception to this rule is the most southern stretch of the continental shelf delimitation line between Finland and Sweden (West and South of Bogskar), where the municipal legislation of both countries concerning the outer limits of their respective fishery zones corresponds neither inter se nor with respect to the continental shelf boundary. Negotiations on this topic have been initiated between the parties during the fall of 1989. As of today, these negotiations have not yet resulted in a new bilateral boundary agreement. It should also be noted that in all cases of adjacency the territorial sea has been delimited.
On 7 May 2009, the People's Republic of China (PRC) protested Vietnamese and joint Malaysian-Vietnamese submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). In support of Chinese claims, a map was annexed to the letter of protest portraying a dotted U-shaped line engulfing the greater part of the South China Sea. Following a brief primer on the genesis of the U-line, this article aims to decipher the text of the protest letter accompanying the U-line, suggesting several possible interpretations. This contribution argues that the map is of doubtful probative value in the light of various factors fleshed out in international jurisprudence regarding map evidence. Attention will be paid to the reactions of third-party states to the U-line. This article maintains that effective protest on the part of regional states has prevented the map from becoming opposable to them.
Scientific cooperation in the Arctic has gained momentum during the last two years. The changing attitude of the Soviet Union, the most advanced Arctic state in this respect, has played a crucial role in this evolution. This article, which focusses on non-Soviet research efforts in Soviet Arctic waters, concludes that the Soviet Union has lately given a clear signal by allowing foreigners, after many years of repeated refusal, to conduct marine scientific research close to its own coasts. In doing so the Soviets have further clarified the legal status of their northern waters.
When the United States dispatched icebreakers to Proliv Vil'kitskogo [Vil'kitskii Strait] in 1967, the Soviet Union did not allow the vessels to accomplish the passage, basing their refusal on a requirement, provided for in municipal legislation, that warships seek prior authorization. During the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1973–82) the USSR reversed this policy: innocent passage was granted in principle to merchant and war vessels alike. This article analyzes whether this fundamental policy change, together with some other novelties in Soviet legislation, substantially influenced the regime applicable to Vil'kitskii Strait. Theoretical considerations would apparently answer this question positively. Actual state practice, though still open to conjecture, points rather in the opposite direction.
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