This 27-July-2019 CNN report mentions:

The remote Pacific outcrop, called the Dokdo Islands in South Korea and the Takeshima Islands in Japan, made headlines Tuesday following an alleged violation of the airspace above them by a Russian jet.

but my question is not specifically about these island. Instead, I'd just like to ask if there has every been a case where two countries have ever jointly shared territorial waters of an island (or group of islands) that was not otherwise already inside either of their other territorial waters. The islands mentioned in the article are one geographical example, given for the purposes of clarity.

It's fine to speculate in this paticular case, but I'm only asking about any precedent of this, or why it may be impossible due to political issues or those of international law.

  • To clarify, you're asking about the territorial waters surrounding a disputed island?
    – Joe C
    Jul 28, 2019 at 9:09
  • @JoeC I have not stipulated that there must be a dispute, only that the countries cooperate in order to establish joint territorial waters around islands.
    – uhoh
    Jul 28, 2019 at 9:11
  • 1
    If you enlarge the question to count states, then Ellis Island is an fun case. Jul 28, 2019 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


The archipelago of the New Hebrides, which is now the country of Vanuatu, was a Franco-British condominium between 1906 and independence in 1980. The two powers therefore co-operated to establish territorial waters around the islands, which is your standard.

This model would in theory work much better in Liancourt Rocks/Dokdo/Takeshima than it did in the south Pacific, because the currently-disputed islets have a trivial indigenous population.

The same two powers also co-operated to a very limited extent in Newfoundland. The Treaty of Utrecht confirmed that this was a British island, but gave French fishermen limited rights in certain waters, the so-called French Shore.

You may also be interested in the landlocked condominium of Neutral Moresnet.


Apparently this is called a condominium, and the Wikipedia page provides the example of Pheasant Island, a tiny place on the border between France and Spain.

  • I learned a new word today, or usage at least. This definitely shows precedent for the joint territorial sharing of an island, but doesn't yet satisfy "...that was not otherwise already inside either of their other territorial waters." But it gets me closer. Thanks!
    – uhoh
    Jul 28, 2019 at 12:43

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