Facts about South China Sea

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Overview:

India recently said it opposes unilateral actions seeking to change the status quo by force in South China Sea amid concerns over China’s escalatory moves against the Philippines’ maritime operations in the region.

About South China Sea:

  • It is an arm of the western Pacific Ocean that borders the Southeast Asian mainland. 
  • It embraces an area of about 1,423,000 square miles (3,685,000 square km), with a mean depth of 3,976 feet (1,212 metres).
  • Boundaries:
    • It is bordered by China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam.
    • The southern boundary of the South China Sea is a rise in the seabed between Sumatra and Borneo, and the northern boundary stretches from the northernmost point of Taiwan to the coast of Fujian province, China, in the Taiwan Strait.
  • It is connected by the Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by the Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea (both marginal seas of the Pacific Ocean).
  • The South China Sea and the East China Sea together form the China Sea.
  • The two major archipelagos are known as the Paracel Islands, controlled by China, and the Spratly Islands.
  • Climate: The weather in the sea is tropical and largely controlled by monsoons.
  • It is the second most used sea lane in the world. It is a significant trade route for crude oil from the Persian Gulf and Africa through the Strait of Malacca to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. 
  • Major Ports: Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Q1: What is the Taiwan Strait?

Taiwan Strait, also called Formosa Strait, is a 180-kilometre-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia. The strait extends from southwest to northeast between the South and East China seas. The narrowest part is 130 km wide. It reaches a depth of about 230 feet (70 m) and contains the Pescadores Islands (which are controlled by the government of Taiwan). The chief ports are Amoy in mainland China and Kao-hsiung in Taiwan.

Source: We oppose unilateral actions to change status quo by force: India on fresh tensions in South China Sea