The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea balances the interests of states in ways that are more refined than the classic summa divisio between the free high seas and territorial waters. The result for aviation is the preservation of freedom of overflight for civil and military aircraft seaward of the territorial sea in the exclusive economic zone as on the high seas beyond, and the right of such aircraft to transit archipelagic waters as well as straits comprised of territorial seas and internal waters. A proper understanding of the scope of these rights and their relationship to the UN Charter and the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation is of considerable importance to international peace and security and global communications.
Bernard Oxman, Transit of Straits and Archipelagic Waters by Military Aircraft, 4 Sing. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 377 (2000).