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A Study On The International Legal Issues Of The Arctic Seas

Posted on:2011-06-16Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:Q WuFull Text:PDF
GTID:1116330332959180Subject:International law
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The Arctic Region has ever been a remote area which is far away from people's lines of vision and it is also deemed to be a fringe issue in the Arctic states'political and economical concerns. However, with the Arctic states'new global strategic deployments and obvious warm climate change in the Arctic region, the abundant sea resources and commercial shipping in the Arctic Seas become Arctic states'chasing targets. In August 2007, the Russian Arctic Scientific Expedition Team planted a titanium Russian flag on the seabed beneath the North Pole, which made the Arctic states'infighting come into the spotlight of the international world. Instantly, the old scores and news among the Arctic nations seemed to turn white-hot. What kinds of international legal regime would be like behind such a bustling Arctic region, the paper herein will uncover its mysterious"veil". The paper is composed of an introduction and five chapters, approximately 210,000 words. The main contents hereby are as follows:Chapter One: General Introduction to the Arctic Seas. The Chapter first has a preliminary introduction to the scope and feature of the Arctic Seas as well as the definition of the countries around the Arctic Seas and the Arctic coastal countries. The Arctic Seas herein include the Arctic Ocean and its nine annexed seas. In accordance with this criterion, Canada, Russia, America, Denmark(Greenland), Norway and Iceland among the commonly-called eight Arctic states could be known as the countries around the Arctic Seas while the aforesaid five countries except Iceland are referred to as the Arctic Ocean coastal countries. The present global climate change exerts much influence on the Arctic Seas. Some scientists reported that the Arctic Ocean would be iceless at the end of this century. This change will bring both negative and positive effects to the Arctic Seas. The negative effects are that the crowning calamity to the sea environment, even the global environment may arise therefrom. The positive effects mainly lie in the commercial values of the Arctic Seas including the exploitation and development of the gas and oil on the seabed and the commercial shipping which are supposed to be the leading reason to the disputes among the countries around the Arctic Seas. The Arctic Seas are not a vacuum of legal system as what some scholars said. Instead, the relevant international laws concerning with the sea, the bilateral and regional treaties and the regional soft environmental laws shall be applied to the aspects of the Arctic Seas.Chapter Two: Established Sea Rights over the Arctic Seas. The issue of the Arctic sates'sovereignty is an inevitable topic when some researches about the international legal system in the Arctic Seas are being done. So far, the lands around the Arctic Seas, inclusive of the main islands in the Arctic Seas have been divided by the eight Arctic states. In most instances no disputes existed over the title to Arctic lands. However, the disputes arising from the sea rights among the countries around the Arctic Seas never stop. Before touching on these disputes, we'd better go through with the established sea rights over the Arctic Seas by the surrounding countries which can provide the basis for the following understanding of the disputes. The chapter herein starts from the territorial sea rights in the Arctic Seas and introduces the sea rights in the territorial seas, the exclusive economic zones, the continental shelves as well as the shipping rights respectively. The countries around the Arctic Seas not only contribute to the international world with their peculiar national practices but also some innovative theories in the process of asserting the sea rights in the Arctic Seas. The typical examples for the former are the national practices of the straight baseline by Norway, Canada and Russia and the"Long-arm Jurisdiction"over the foreign ships by Canada and Russia in their ice-covered EEZs. The latter are some new theories like Sector Principle and Arctic Lake Theory. Besides, the original boundary treaties and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 are also the predominating factors affecting the assertion of the sea rights in the Arctic Seas by the surrounding countries. Especially, the 1982 UNCLOS is not only attributed to today's"hot war"in the Arctic Seas, but also provides the ways and substantive laws for the final cease-fire. The last section in this chapter combines the assertion of the sea rights in the Arctic Seas with the international laws of the sea and then extracts and summarizes the development and challenge made to the international laws of the sea.Chapter Three: The Disputes in the Arctic Seas and its Legal Comments. This chapter reviews and expounds each dispute arising from the Arctic Seas in depth and then comments it from the perspective of the law respectively. The present disputes in the Arctic Seas involve different aspects of the sea. There existed the disputes over the islands like Hans island dispute between Canada and Denmark, the EEZs and continental issues of the Svalbard Islands between Russia and Norway, the disputes over the shipping passage like the Northwest Passage between Canada and the United states, the European Union, etc. and the Northern Sea Route between Russia and the western countries., and also existed the disputes over the EEZs, the outer limits of the continental shelves and the sea boundaries such as the United States-Canada's dispute over the boundary in the Beaufort Sea and its continental shelf, the continental shelf disputes of Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge and Lomonosov Ridge among Canada, Russia and Denmark, and the division of the continental shelf in Barents Sea between Russia and Norway. As to the countries surrounding the Arctic seas and the non-Arctic states, they show different standpoints over the International Seabed Areas. In this Chapter, the author laid profound legal comments on each issue in the light of the international laws on the sea, the international treaty law and the verdicts made by the International Court of Justice. As to the ways to settle the disputes in the Arctic Seas in the coming days, the last section of the chapter listed and analyzed the legal outlets and the political ones. Especially, in term of the political ones, the possibility of the Arctic Treaty which is similar to the Antarctic Treaty is an international hot issue nowadays.Chapter Four: Sea Environmental Protection to the Arctic Seas. Since the late 1980s, the environmental pollution increasingly posed threats to the Arctic region. The environmental pollution mainly consisted of persistent organic contaminants, heavy metals, ozone depletion, acidification and noise, radioactivity and oil pollution from the leakage of the ships and so on. In the new century, warm climate change has turned into the greatest threat imposed to the Arctic region. The environmental legal regime in the Arctic region seems to be relatively complicated. Apart from the domestic laws in each Arctic state, the regional soft legal system and the international environmental conventions applied to the Arctic region constitute the international legal regime for the protection of the Arctic environment. The chapter hereby analyzes and comments on the present regional environmental soft legal system based on the achievements and defects by the working groups of the Arctic Council. As to the global and regional environmental conventions applied to the Arctic region, the essay touches on the main issues like the control of the sea pollution, the protection of the biological diversity and the relevant key issues like POPs, climate change, etc..Chapter Five: Prospect and Pondering over the Arctic Seas. As the conclusive part of the dissertation, it is deemed to be corresponding to the previous chapters and summarize and envision the international legal regime of the Arctic region in the coming days and thereby put forward the author's own perspectives. In the new century, each country surrounding the Arctic seas has issued its newest Arctic strategy after Russia's planting of a flag at the North Pole. On May 28, 2008, the five Arctic Ocean coastal states gathered together in Ilulissat, Denmark and announced the Ilulissat Declaration. In April 2009, the Arctic council issued the Troms? Declaration, in which it indicated the key works in the next two years. By analyzing these new Arctic strategies of the Arctic states as well as the regional declarations, the future trend of the international legal regime of the Arctic region could be clued. Besides, as to the specific approaches to the future international legal regime in the Arctic seas, the chapter herein imposes preliminary pondering over the construction of shipping legal system and protection of sea resources. IMO will play a leading role in the former while the treaty like the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources might be concluded by the six countries around the Arctic Seas or by the eight Arctic states. What China enjoys in the Arctic seas and how China sticks to its principle and standpoint while facing today's"boisterous"Arctic Seas,the author explained her own viewpoint in the last section of this chapter.
Keywords/Search Tags:Arctic Seas, Rights over the Seas, Disputes, Environmental Protection, Construction of the International Legal Regime
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