31 Jul 2020

South China SeaQuick read

China has conducted massive Naval Drill in the South China Sea

About South China Sea

  • It is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres
  • The South China Sea carries tremendous strategic importance; one-third of the world’s shipping passes through it.
  • It contains lucrative fisheries, which are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia. Huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed
  • States and territories with borders on the sea (clockwise from north) include: the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
  • Major rivers that flow into the South China Sea include the Pearl, Min, Jiulong, Red, Mekong, Rajang, Pahang, Agno, Pampanga, and Pasig Rivers.

Territorial disputes

  • Many countries around the sea have made competing territorial claims over the South China Sea. Such disputes have been regarded as Asia’s most potentially dangerous point of conflict.
  • Both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, commonly known as Taiwan) claim almost the entire body as their own, demarcating their claims within what is known as the nine-dotted line, which claims overlap with virtually every other country in the region.
  • Competing claims include:
    • Indonesia, China, and Taiwan over waters NE of the Natuna Islands
    • The Philippines, China, and Taiwan over Scarborough Shoal.
    • Vietnam, China, and Taiwan over waters west of the Spratly Islands.
    • Some or all of the islands themselves are also disputed between Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
    • The Paracel Islands are disputed between China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
    • Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam over areas in the Gulf of Thailand.
    • Singapore and Malaysia along the Strait of Johore and the Strait of Singapore.

Territorial claims in the South China Sea

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