World court hears Chile-Peru dispute

The Hague-based International Court of Justice today begins hearings on the long-running territorial dispute between Chile and Peru. Peru filed the case in January 2008:

Peru claims that “the maritime zones between Chile and Peru have never been delimited by agreement or otherwise” and that accordingly, “the delimitation is to be determined by the Court in accordance with customary international law”. Peru explains that “since the 1980s, [it] has consistently endeavoured to negotiate the various issues in dispute, but . . . has constantly met a refusal from Chile to enter into negotiations”....

Peru now “requests the Court to determine the course of the boundary between the maritime zones of the two States in accordance with international law . . . and to adjudge and declare that Peru possesses exclusive sovereign rights in the maritime area situated within the limit of 200 nautical miles from its coast but outside Chile’s exclusive economic zone or continental shelf”.

As the hearings begin, Chile's president is warning against an upsurge in nationalism:

As tensions ratchet up ahead of the court proceedings, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera spoke out against "exacerbated nationalism, which poisons the soul of the people," in a column published Sunday in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

"This dispute granted Chile and Peru an opportunity to renew our relationship and embrace together with conviction and courage the future agenda, which should be of friendship, cooperation, progress and peace," he said.

Both countries have pledged to respect the court's eventual ruling.

The Multilateralist

India relaxed on Chinese use of economic muscle

Vietnam, the Philippines, and others impacted by China's expansive maritime claims are expressing concern that China will use its economic leverage to back its territorial claims. India, by contrast, appears unconcerned about the linkage. Via Bloomberg:

Not all China’s neighbors share Vietnam’s concern at China using commerce as a foreign-policy tool. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said Chinese use of economic power to push its goals in Asia was acceptable as long as it didn’t break laws.

“Don’t we all use our economic muscle?” Khurshid said in an interview in his office in New Delhi on Nov. 30. “What is economic muscle for if not to use it to create an advantage for your people? So long as it’s not illegitimate, so long as it doesn’t violate principles of international law.”