South China Sea
#GS 01 Geography, #GS-02 International Relations
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.”
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.