Malaysia has made a partial submission over its territorial sea waters to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) for the northern part of the South China Sea.
CLCS is a body that governs the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) in respect of the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.
On Dec 12, Malaysia submitted to CLCS on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, in accordance with Article 76, Paragraph 8, of Unclos, information on the limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured in the South China Sea.
In making the submission, Malaysia said: “This is a partial submission for the remaining portion of the continental shelf of Malaysia beyond 200 nautical miles in the northern part of the South China Sea.
"Malaysia and Vietnam had on 6 May 2009 made a joint submission for a portion of the two States’ continental shelf, in the southern part of the South China Sea.”
Unclos entered into force for Malaysia on Nov 13, 1996.
In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the commission, a communication is being circulated to all UN members states in order to make public the executive summary of the submission, including all charts and coordinates contained in that summary.
The consideration of the partial submission made by Malaysia will be included in the provisional agenda of the fifty-third session of the commission to be held in New York from July 6 to Aug 21, 2021.
Upon completion of the consideration of the submission, the commission shall make recommendations pursuant to Article 76 of Unclos.
READ MORE: KiniGuide on the South China Sea dispute
The continental shelf of a coastal state comprises the submerged prolongation of the land territory of the coastal state - the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nautical miles where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.
The continental margin consists of the seabed and subsoil of the shelf, the slope and the rise. It does not include the deep ocean floor with its oceanic ridges or subsoil.
In past decades, several countries have made competing and overlapping territorial claims over parts of the South China Sea.
Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore all have claims to territorial waters in the region.