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The Application of Article 121 of the Law of the Sea Convention to the Disputed Offshore Islands in East Asia

Dr. Songs talk will focus on the question concerning interpretation and possible application of Article 121 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in particular its third paragraph, to the selected disputed offshore islands or rocks that are situated in the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. A number of recent developments occurred in the East Asian waters that are relevant to or have the potential to give rise to the problem of interpretation and application of the said article will first be cited. Then, a brief summary of the development of the "Regime of Islands" at UNCLOS III will be given, focusing in particular on those proposals made by the participating delegations to amend or delete entirely Article 121(3) of UNCLOS. The views of the law of the sea experts on interpretation and application of Article 121(3) will be examined. Several selected examples of state practices with regard to the application or interpretation of Article 121(3) will then be provided. This is to be followed by discussing the interpretation and possible application of Article 121(3) to the selected disputed offshore islands that are situated in the East Asian waters. Finally, several suggestions for possible amendment to Article 121 or policy measures to help deal with the confusion found in Article 121(3) will be offered.

Yann-huei Song received his undergraduate degree from National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan, a Master's degree in Political Science from Indiana State University, Indiana, USA, a LL.M. degree from the University of California School of Law (Boalt Hall), Berkeley, California, USA, a doctoral degree in International Relations from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA, and a JSD degree from the University of California School of Law (Boalt Hall), Berkeley.

Following graduation from Kent State University, Dr. Song taught at Department of Political Science, Indiana State University as Assistant Professor in 1988. He then returned to his country and taught as an Associate Professor at Institute of Maritime Law, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan in 1990. Currently, Dr. Song is a research fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei, Taiwan, and distinguished professor of the Graduate Institute of International Politics at National Ching Hsing University (NCHU), Taichung, Taiwan. He is also dean of the Office of International Affaris at NCHU.

Dr. Song's research interests are in the fields of International Law of the Sea, International Fisheries Law, International Environmental Law, National Ocean Policy Study, Naval Arms Control and Maritime Security. He has published articles in journals such as Political Geography Quarterly, Asian Survey, Marine Policy, Chinese Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, Issues and Studies, The American Asian Review, Ocean Development and International Law, EurAmerica, Ecology Law Review, the International Journal of Coastal and Marine Law, The Indonesian Quarterly and others.