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Article Restricted

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Political Geography Quarterly

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Under the new Law of the Sea Convention, some 400 or more international maritime boundaries will have to be delimited. The process of delimitation involves several types of issues. One is the sources of authority for such delimitation, a second is the principal methods by which delimitation is carried out, a third is the dispute settlement process, and finally the technical problems of actually drawing a boundary. Out of these basic issues arise many others: Should adjacent and opposite states have a single maritime boundary or different ones for their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and their continental shelves? Should the median line, equitable principles or some other method be used for delimitation? When and how should straight baselines be used and how should they be accounted for in delimitation? What ‘relevant circumstances’ should be considered, if any, and how? What, if any, weight should be given to ‘socio-economic elements’ ? Are the charts being used by the parties compatible in terms of projection, scale, low-water lines? In the near-to-intermediate future there will be a continuing need for improved charting facilities and techniques and for experts to deal with these issues. More thought should be given to the establishment of joint development zones, at least as interim devices. The topic of maritime boundary delimitation needs more attention from political geographers; if they fail to act, the lawyers surely will.