International

Details: Disputes in South China Sea

WHAT IS THE DISPUTE ?

  • The South China Sea Dispute is both Maritime and Island dispute among China, Tiwan , Brunei , Indonesia, Malasiya, Philippines and Vietnam.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY?

  • China claims during Xia(2100BC-1600BC) and  Han(202BC-220AD) dynasty whole of the South China Sea was controlled by this Dynasties.
  • To control over the South China Sea, China introduced the  11-Dash Line in 1947. In 1950 modified into 9-Dash Line as a gesture to communist comrades in North Vietnam.         

WHICH COUNTRY CLAIMS WHAT?

China Claims the entire territory under 9-Dash Line.

Tiwan The entire subsoil, seabed and waters of the Paracels and Spratlys are claimed by Taiwan.

BruneiClaims the sea around its boundary.

Indonesia Claims to destroy the vessels of foreign fisherman if caught illegally.

Malasiya Claims the sea around its boundary and also some of the island of Spratley.

Philippines Claims the Spratley Island as it is very closed to them along with Scarborough Island.

Vietnamclaims outruled Chinese historical claim. As Vietnam ruled the Spratley and Paracels Island in 17th century.

WHAT ARE THE UN LAWS ON TERRITORIAL WATER?

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is an international agreement that defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
Territorial Boundries
  • A/c to Article 3 of UNCLOS — Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.
  • A/c to Article 57 of UNCLOS — The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Arbitration

  • In January 2013, the Philippines formally initiated arbitration proceedings against China’s claim on the territories within the “Nine-Dash Line“. And said it was unlawful under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration gave the judjement in favour the Philippines. Saying that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources. Hence there was “no legal basis for China to claim historic rights” over the nine-dash line.
  • But China and Taiwan both ill-founded it and rejected the UNCLOS decision.

WHAT IS THE PRESENT SCENARIO?

  • China has built massive infrastructure and artificial island in the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands region. These actions are countered by United State, France , United Kingdom and have conducted freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) in the region
  • Paracel Islands – is a group of more than 30 islands in the South China Sea located between the coastlines of Vietnam and China. China Controls the Paracel Island but also claimed by Vietnam.
  • Spratly IslandsVietnam controls most of the parts of the Paracel Island (21 features). Philippines(9 features), Taiwan(1 features), China(7 features), Malaysia(5 features) and Brunei(1 features)

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SOUTH CHINA SEA?

1. World’s 1/3rd Shipping passees through this strategic route carrying over $3.37 trillion in trade each year.

2. This Sea contains an ample amount of the reserves of Natural gases, Crude oils, Minerals, etc.

3. This region has a lucrative potential of “Fisheries” and “Coral reefs”.

4. Shortest route between Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

5. This region will play an vital role in controlling the international shipping and deployment of military forces and military equipment.

WHAT ARE POST COVID-19 AFFECT ON SOUTH CHINA SEA?

After the spread of Corona virus (also called Chinese virus and Wuhan virus), China was highly condemn from all over the country.

When all the countries is fighting with the pandemic, China undergone major distinct events to sidetrack  from the issue which are as follows-

  1. Unilaterally “Renamed” the names of “80 island” and “Coral reefs” in the South China Sea.
  2. The Chinese Coast Guard aggressively sink a Vietnamese fishing vessel.
  3. The Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 went trolling for oil in the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone.
  4. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) stretched its legs and conducted sea trials with the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
  5. China announced the creation of two new administrative districts in the South China Sea, covering disputed maritime features.
aircraft carrier.jpg

USA in South China Sea

  • The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific”. It also aimed to deliver a pointed message to China that it doesn’t appreciate Beijing’s military ramp-up in the region.
  • To counter this, China also conducted “high-intensity” naval exercises in the South China Sea.
  • As the tension rise in South China Sea , US signs MoU to support Vietnamese fishermen against Chinese ‘intimidation’.

CONCLUSION

The South China Sea dispute can be settled by improving their relationship with bilateral or multilateral talks and forgetting their past. China as the largest country in Asia should look forward in helping their neighbouring countries, And follow the internalional laws (UNCLOS) instead of expansionist role in the South China Sea.

Diwakar Kumar Gupta

I am from Hajipur, Bihar and currently living in New Delhi. I am keen in gathering information about International and Defence affairs.

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