SOUTH CHINA SEA (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     25th September 2023        
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Context: Context: Recently, the Philippines accused China's coast guard of placing a "floating barrier" in a contested part of the South China Sea, alleging it obstructed Filipino access and fishing rights in the region.

  • Both the Philippines and China lay claim to the Scarborough Shoal (known as Huangyan Island in China) – a little more than 100 miles (160km) from the Philippines and 500 miles from China.

South China Sea

  • It is one of the world's busiest waterways and plays a crucial role in global trade and merchant shipping.
  • Location: The South China Sea is a marginal sea of the Western Pacific Ocean
  • Bordering Countries: The People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • Straits: Taiwan Strait, connecting to the East China Sea; the Luzon Strait, linking to the Philippine Sea; straits surrounding Palawan, connecting to the Sulu Sea; the Strait of Singapore, providing access to the Strait of Malacca; and the Karimata and Bangka Strait, connecting to the Java Sea.
  • Reason for Dispute: The South China Sea disputes involve claims over maritime territories and islands by various sovereign states in the region.
  • Countries Party dispute: China, Brunei, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia etc.

Claims Over Islands

  • The Paracel Islands: Claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
  • The Spratly Islands: Claimed by China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.
  • The Scarborough Shoal: Claimed by the Philippines, China and Taiwan.
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