International Law Studies


In August 2014, a Chinese fighter aggressively intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the South China Sea. This incident once again raises the issue of the legality of conducting military activities in and over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without coastal State notice or consent. All nations have a right under international law to conduct military activities in foreign EEZs. The article discusses the legal bases for conducting these activities and reviews some of the more prominent arguments used by States that purport to regulate such activities in the EEZ. It concludes that the right to engage in military activities in the EEZ is consistent with international law, both customary and conventional, as well as State practice.