The Functions and Work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Iuchi Yumiko and Usui Asano, two OPRF research fellows, explain the role of the CLCS, a body tasked with examining and recommending approval of submissions from coastal states regarding their continental shelf limits. Offshore islands can serve as the baseline for extensions of these limits, making them a vital part of states’ submissions to the CLCS. When conflicting submissions are made, as by the coastal states surrounding the South China Sea, how does the commission function? And how has Japan’s 2008 submission extending its continental shelf in seven regions been regarded?

The Problems in the South China Sea

In February 2012 the second in a series of international conferences was held in Singapore. There participants discussed territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Japan is not a party to these disputes, but they have bearing on the nation for their impact on the East Asian security environment and on China’s relations with other states. Defense specialist Ueno Hideshi introduces the range of views presented at this conference on Chinese territorial claims, US responses, and other factors that will need close attention as the region moves forward.