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Disputed territory

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Disputed territory

A territorial dispute is a disagreement over the possession/control of land between two or more territorial entities or over the possession or control of land by a new state and occupying power after it has conquered the land from a former state no longer currently recognized by the new state.


Context and definitions

Territorial disputes are often related to the possession of natural resources such as rivers, fertile farmland, mineral or oil resources although the disputes can also be driven by culture, religion and ethnic nationalism. Territorial disputes result often from vague and unclear language in a treaty that set up the original boundary.

Territorial disputes are a major cause of UN Charter says: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

In some cases, where the boundary is not demarcated, such as Ladakh plateau, the Taiwan Strait, and Occupied Kashmir, both sides define a line of control that serves as international border de facto; but in the case of Kashmir, it is a temporary solution to the ongoing strife. Although these lines are often clearly demarcated, they do not have the legitimacy of an agreed international boundary.

  • The term border dispute (or border conflict) applies only to cases where a limit territory bordering more than one state (including an enclave in one state such as Nagorno Karabakh) is claimed by two or more, not the very existence of a whole state challenged (such as the Republic of China, which the People's Republic of China regards as a defunct and illegitimate entity, with its current jurisdiction of Taiwan claimed by the PRC as its 23rd province).
  • Occupied territories in general are regions distinct from the recognized territory of a sovereign state but which it controls, especially with military forces. Even though a long-term occupation is generally maintained as a means to act upon a territorial claim, this is not a prerequisite as occupation may also be strategic (such as creating a buffer zone or a preventive move to prevent a rival power obtaining control) or a means of coercion (such as a punishment, to impose some internal measures or for use as a bargaining chip).
  • The term irredentism applies to those border disputes and other territorial claims that one party justifies on the basis of former cultural or ethnic attachment.

See also

Sources and references

  • WorldStatesman – click on any state for the listing (after the chronological lists of statesmen) of Territorial Disputes it is party to
  • Territorial disputes in CIA World Factbook
  • USState Department/ FloridaStateUniversity International Border Studies

External links

  • Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Lawes:Anexo:Territorios disputados

pl:Spór terytorialny

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