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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: March 2021

9 - The Belt and Road Initiative and the Potential for Dispute Settlement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

from Part IV - China, BRI and Resolution of Maritime Disputes


It investigates disputes settlement relating to the maritime dimensions of the BRI, and it explores the potential use of the dispute settlement mechanism of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in relation to possible disputes relating to three subjects that may arise pursuant to the BRI: ports, navigation and military activities. In the concluding section, it observes that there is undoubtedly an important role for judges or arbitrators to play in ensuring that the implementation of the BRI remains consistent with the rights and obligations agreed under UNCLOS. How successfully this role will be played will ultimately depend on the precise details of any dispute and the final decisions of a particular court or tribunal, including the enforcement of those decisions. Courts or tribunals will likely see themselves as having a critical position in ensuring that the balance of interests agreed in UNCLOS is not jeopardised by the national strategies or priorities of any one state party.

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