South China Sea

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The Coast Guard of China was accused by the Philippines recently of installing a "floating barrier" in the South China Sea's disputed area.

About South China Sea:

  • It is an arm of the western Pacific Ocean that borders the Southeast Asian mainland
  • Boundaries: It is bordered by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam.
  • 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: 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.


What is the South China Sea dispute?

  • Several countries claim various parts of the sea, and these claims often overlap.
  • In particular, China's sweeping claims - which include sovereignty claims over land parcels and their adjacent waters - have angered competing claimants like Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
  • Other countries have staked claims on islands and various zones in the sea, such as the Paracels and the Spratlys.
  • Nine-dash line:
    • China claims by far the largest portion of territory in an area demarcated by its so-called "nine-dash line".
    • The line comprises nine dashes, which extend hundreds of miles south and east from its most southerly province of Hainan.


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.

Source: Philippines accuses China of installing 'floating barrier' in South China Sea