Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Thomas Kim

Reader 2

Michael Prather

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© 2015 Rebecca N. Marx


In my thesis, I investigate the effectiveness of international law in helping to settle territorial disputes. My hypothesis is that international bodies and laws fail to ameliorate territorial conflict because they fail to provide sufficient incentives to overcome political hurdles to resolution. To analyze this topic, I will examine three territorial disputes in Northeast Asia. The three cases in question are all quite longstanding. All three have had ample time and opportunity to be arbitrated or adjudicated by an international body. Yet this has not occurred. I will postulate reasons why they this is the case, using information drawn primarily from scholarly journals, and other reputable sources in the field of political science which are listed in the bibliography herein. I have also reviewed the text of relevant treaties that apply to the nations under examination. While all three of the cases that I describe take place in the same geographic region, one may apply the lessons learned from these three cases more globally because the same root problem that prevents these three Northeast Asian examples from being resolved through international law also exists in other cases—namely insufficient incentive to change the status quo in spite of potential consequences and unwanted concessions.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.