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Yellow Sea Agreement Shipping

October 17th, 2021

Political. The political will to meaningfully address a dispute over the demarcation of maritime boundaries is crucial. This critical factor has arguably been undermined in the past by fisheries disputes, one of the most important practical maritime issues and a source of persistent friction between the two States. This issue has been treated as having been resolved by the 2001 Korea-China Fisheries Agreement, which is supposed to address the main source of day-to-day disputes between the parties in the area of overlapping maritime claims and arguably reduces the political momentum to demarcate a Sino-red maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea. Over time, however, it has become clear that this joint fisheries agreement has not led to sound fisheries management and a reduction in the number of fishing-related incidents between the parties. South Korea sees a demarcation agreement for the Yellow Sea as a catalyst to promote development and strengthen its strategic cooperative partnership with China. An agreement could also significantly influence South Korea`s negotiations on the demarcation of its maritime borders with Japan. Despite these agreements, illegal fishing – almost exclusively by Chinese boats in South Korea – has remained a problem. Chinese incursions have been regular over the past ten to fifteen years, and in 2018, more than a thousand Chinese fishing vessels were driven out of ROK waters. [3] A 2014 estimate by the Republic of Korea calculated that illegal Chinese fishing costs South Korea $1.2 billion.

[4] In addition, Chinese Navy and Coast Guard vessels have also entered South Korean territorial waters under the pretext of monitoring their fishing fleet. Efforts by the Republic of Korea Coast Guard to deal with Chinese fishing boats have often become violent, with several Republic of Korea Coast Guard crew members and Chinese fishermen killed and injured in clashes. Violence has decreased in recent years, but Chinese incursions remain a serious problem for the Republic of Korea`s maritime authorities. The apparent lack of progress in previous bilateral efforts to delineate a maritime border between China and South Korea can be attributed to several factors. .

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