South China Sea

South China Sea

South China Sea

#GS 01 Geography, #GS-02 International Relations

For Prelims

South China Sea

  • South China Sea is a part of the western Pacific Ocean that borders the Southeast Asian mainland.
  • Brunei, Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (China), Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines Singapore, Republic of China (Taiwan), Thailand and Vietnam borders the South China Sea.
  • It is connected to the East China Sea by the Taiwan Strait and to the Philippine Sea by the Luzon Strait.
  • The Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Pratas Islands and Macclesfield’s Bank and Scarborough Shoal are the archipelagos in the South China Sea.


  • The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
  • The Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Philippines.
  • The Scarborough Shoal is claimed by the Philippines, China and Taiwan.

China’s ‘nine-dash line’

  • China has been converting uninhabited islets into artificial islets in order to increase its territorial claim in the South China Sea.
  • The nine-dash line refers to the area claimed by China in the region which is by far the largest portion of the Sea.
  • China claims historic rights to the territory and to the resources within the ‘nine-dash line’.
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague decreed in July 12, 2016 judgment that the line had “no legal basis.”


For Mains

Strategic Importance of South China Sea

  • South China sea has extreme strategic importance because it connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the Strait of Malacca.
  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), one-third of global shipping passes through this region.

Source “More sabre-rattling, more isolation: militarisation of the South China Sea