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South China Sea dispute

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

South China Sea dispute:


Context:

Philippine is planning to deploy military ships to the South China Sea to assert the country’s claim over oil deposits in a contested part of the waterway.

Background:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been facing growing domestic criticism for his reluctance to confront China over its activities in Philippine-claimed waters.

Where is the South China Sea?

  • South China Sea is an arm of western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia.
  • It is south of China, east & south of Vietnam, west of the Philippines and north of the island of Borneo.
  • It is connected by Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea.
  • Bordering states & territories: the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Strategic Importance:

  • This sea holds tremendous strategic importance for its location as it is the connecting link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean (Strait of Malacca).
  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) one-third of the global shipping passes through it, carrying trillions of trade which makes it a significant geopolitical water body.

Contesting Claims Over Islands:

  • 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 Philippines, China and Taiwan.
  • Since 2010, China has been converting uninhabited islets into artificial islets to bring it under UNCLOS (For example, Haven Reef, Johnson South Reef and Fiery Cross Reef).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Countries involved in the dispute.
  2. What is nine dash line?
  3. Disputed islands and their locations?
  4. Important straits, passes and seas in the region.
  5. What is UNCLOS?
  6. Locate Taiwan strait and Luzon Strait.

Mains Link:

Write a note on South China Sea dispute.

Sources: the Hindu.