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UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
  • UN Convention on the Law of the Sea The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea establish universal principles of the law of the sea which comprehensively regulate the breadth, jurisdiction and legal status of the seas, conservation of marine living resources, protection of the marine environment, development of resources of the seabed area and the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes. As international efforts to establish a new maritime order based on such principles of the law of the sea are under way, the Republic of Korea, as a major maritime power, has made every effort to actively and sincerely take part in the creation of a new maritime order.

    Firstly, Korea has been harmonizing its relevant domestic laws with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. In order to do so, Korea enacted the "Maritime Scientific Research Act" in January 1995, the "Exclusive Economic Zone Act" and the "Act on the Excercise of Sovereign Rights over Foreigners' Fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone" in August 1996; as well as revising the "Sea Pollution Prevention Act" in December 1995 and the "Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone Act" in August 1996.

    Secondly, Korea has been participating in the process to establish a stable maritime order in the waters surrounding the Korean peninsula. This has resulted in the conclusion of a fisheries agreement with Japan and with China. Korea plans to continue talks on exclusive economic zone delimitation with neighboring countries on the basis of principles envisaged by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    As Korea, Japan and China have proclaimed their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) under the new maritime order created by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, which entered into force in 1994, the EEZ claims of the three States to the East China Sea, the East Sea and the Yellow Sea, where the distance between these coastal States is less than 400 nautical miles, now overlap.

    Due to the complexity of the overlapping claims to the sea area, the Korean Government concluded a fisheries agreement with Japan in January 1999 and with China in August 2000. These fisheries agreements, both of which have now entered into force made it possible for Korea to protect its interests in fisheries and secure grounds for its EEZ claim to the sea area in future EEZ talks with the relevant States.

    As of July 2011, Korea has had eleven rounds of maritime boundary delimitation talks with Japan and fourteen with China. Korea will endeavor to settle these matters in accordance with international law and relevant practice.

    Finally, Korea has been actively involved in the development of an international maritime regime under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Professor Paik Jin-hyun, a Judge of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and his predecessor, the late Professor Park Choon-ho, have made substantial contributions to the development of the regime in securing the peaceful settlement of disputes under the Convention. Professor Park Yong-ahn is a dedicated member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.