Ohio Northern University International Law Journal


In January of 2022, the United States Department of State concluded in their Limits in the Seas study that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has asserted unlawful maritime claims in the majority of the South China Sea.1 n Limits in the Seas, the United States called on the PRC once again to “conform its maritime claims to international law and to cease its unlawful and coercive activities in the South China Sea.”2 While the legal basis for China’s claims is hotly contested, this article seeks to navigate such unlawful and coercive activities in the region by detailing the history, the claims, and the environmental impacts of the dispute, particularly on marine life and the livelihoods of people who depend on the South China Sea for their survival. Additionally, the article analyzes military conflicts in the region and examines a few of the treaties that have resulted from the decades of disputes. Overall, this article provides a comprehensive analysis of the region, highlighting the importance of resolving the dispute in a way that protects the rights of each of the claimants and preserves the fragile marine ecosystem in the region.