The Law of the Sea

27 September 2012

Associate Professor Tim Stephens discusses public international law, national and international environmental law and the law of the sea with Margaret Throsby on ABC Radio Classic FM.

In wide-ranging interview, Associate Professor Stephens says the recent dispute bewteen China and Japan over the eight islands in the East China Sea boils to who owns the islands and in turn who owns the resources around the island.

"It used to be the case that you could discover territory and so long as you put a flag on the territory and established a settlement afterwards and then held onto it for long enough you could claim it," he says.

"When it comes to these islands it's very murky as to who did what when; who actually has title over it; and there's lot of arguments going back about it, and in the case of China it's several hundred years as they say they have an historic title to it.

"Frankly, it can't be resolved anywhere other than the negotiating table or in an international court which does frequently deal with major sovereignty disputes."

Listen to the full program - Dr Tim Stephens discusses the Law of the Sea - Interview with Margaret Throsby - ABC Radio Classic FM

Contact: Greg Sherington

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