Peru-Chile maritime dispute arrives at The Hague

Peru began proceedings against Chile today at the International Court of Justice, ICJ, in The Hague over a maritime dispute that dates back 120 years. According to the ICJ, the dispute is related to “the delimitation of the boundary between the maritime zones of the two States in the Pacific Ocean” and the recognition of “a maritime zone lying within 200 nautical miles of Peru’s coast.”

The dispute dates back to the 1879 – 1883 War of the Pacific, in which Peru and Bolivia lost substantial territory to Chile. Central to the row is 38,000 square kilometers, or about 14,500 square miles, of fishing-rich sea which Chile currently controls.

The maritime dispute has caused considerable tension in the past. In August 2007, Chile recalled its ambassador from Peru after the State-run newspaper, daily El Peruano, published an official map that indicated Peru’s control over the contentious area.

Peru has claimed that the maritime zone has never been delimited, however Chile says the current border was established under two agreements signed in the 1950s.

Peru’s application at the ICJ “requests the Court determines the course of the boundary between the maritime zones of the two States in accordance with international law.”

Peru also requests the Court “declares 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.”

The current border is parallel to the equator cutting west across the pacific. Peru’s proposed border follows the countries south-western sloping border into the ocean.

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