China has been constructing man-made islands strategically placed on the perimeters of their so called nine-dash line. The question is, can China invoke the archipelagic doctrine to strengthen their claim for these territories?

  • This question doesn't have an answer in the abstract as posed. You need to know the purpose for which the question is asked and the doctrine is advanced to know the answer. China can make the argument. Other countries can decide if that argument is worth considering when deciding to impose sanctions or to seize a vessel that would otherwise be in their jurisdiction to seize, or to go to war over it. The way in which the question is presented matters a lot in all matters of international law that ultimately have to be enforced in domestic courts at some point.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 22:48

1 Answer 1



Archipelagic states are legally defined by the UN. China isn’t one of them. There are a number of countries with veto power in the UN who would likely block China becoming one.

  • Hypothetically, if China could be able to pull off political favors in order for the UN states having veto power to support their contention, it could really claim the areas under the nine-dash line right? Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 0:58

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