The Principle of Sovereignty and the Application of International Law

The principle of sovereignty and the application of international law (2)

Sovereignty and its corollaries formed an important part of the discussions during the two previous meetings of the Sino-European Expert Working Group on the Application of International Law in Cyberspace in 2019 and 2022.

These discussions showed an important level of convergence among the participating scholars on the definition of sovereignty and its corollaries in general, but also highlighted the diversity of approaches regarding their interpretation and application in cyberspace and regarding cyber-related behaviours. It notably appeared that the Chinese scholars and the European scholars are adopting two different approaches on these matters. This observation constitutes the rationale behind the gathering of a joint research group on sovereignty which prepared this joint publication. 

This joint research aims to probe Chinese and European perspectives on sovereignty in cyberspace, and to identify their convergence and divergence. Both sides recognise the importance and applicability of the principle of sovereignty to international governance of cyberspace.

Overall, this report and the discussions among the participating scholars show a high level of convergence on several points. However, this report reveals that the Chinese and European scholars may approach some of the nuanced points regarding sovereignty in cyberspace in different ways.

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