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Indo-Pacific Powers: Internalization, Interpretation, and Implementation of International Law
journal contributionposted on 2022-10-03, 02:25 authored by J Kim, Arpit RaswantArpit Raswant
This article examines how the Indo-Pacific powers, China and India, respond to international law and evaluates how effectively international law influences each state’s behavior. The role of norms and international legal regimes in the major Indo-Pacific flashpoints has become an inseparable justification of contestants’ claims over the years. We suggest that a state actor’s response to international law can be assessed using three criteria: the internalization, interpretation, and implementation of international law. The article investigates China and India as state actors and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as a case of international law. We assess these criteria by comparing the development of domestic laws by China and India in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (internalization), their declarations submitted to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provisions (interpretation), and their reaction to third-party arbitrations (implementation). By connecting the domestic and international legal actions of rising powers in the Indo-Pacific region, the article suggests that a state actor’s internalization, interpretation, and implementation of international law significantly indicate how international law impacts an individual state’s behavior in the international security arena. Thus, this article establishes critical connections between emerging security order, regional politics, and normative developments in the Indo-Pacific.