This exceptional volume deals with the hotly contested legal status of the Paracels and the Spratlys, two inhospitable archipelagos located in the South China Sea, sovereignty over which is disputed by several states. The author investigates the contribution which international law can make towards determining the rights of all parties involved. In order to do so she goes back into history to find out at each stage what the actual situation was and what its legal significance was in terms of the legal categories of the time. The originality of this work, compared to others already published on this topic, lies in its analysis of the valuable French archives. Not only these archives, but also existing legal writings have served as a basis for the investigation into the status of the archipelagos. The book sheds new and significant light on this important question.
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