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The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: A revolutionary treaty

Today marks the 37th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark treaty that introduced new concepts of international law and brought about a more equitable order to maritime rights

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At a conference in Beijing last year, several Chinese scholars, including one from Singapore, made the surprising statement that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) was a product of the West; China was therefore not bound to comply with the convention, in their view.

The truth is that Unclos was negotiated by more than 150 countries, the majority being developing countries. China participated actively in the negotiations and voted for the convention.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2019, with the headline The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: A revolutionary treaty. Subscribe