The most important of Tommy Koh’s writings on the Law of the Sea are brought together in Building a New Legal Order for the Oceans. As the president of the third United Nations Conference on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he shares his unique perspective on the UNCLOS negotiation process, and the concepts, tensions and intentions that underlie today’s law of the sea. There could be no better guide to this aspect of international law than Koh.
UNCLOS contains the modern law of the sea. It has been called a constitution for the oceans. It contains many new concepts of international law, such as the Exclusive Economic Zone, Archipelagic State, Straits Used for International Navigation, Transit Passage, Archipelagic Sealane Passage, the Common Heritage of Mankind. Koh explains these and other concepts.
Peace at sea is made possible by UNCLOS. Koh discusses current threats to maritime security. He explains the intricacies of the disputes in the South China Sea. What can be learned from the success of UNCLOS? How can we build on that success, and manage the new tensions that arise in the law of the sea?