In News: Recently, A U.S. destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, drawing an angry reaction from Beijing.
- The United States regularly carries out what it calls Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea challenging what it says are restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China and other claimants.
- July 11 marked the sixth anniversary of a ruling by an international tribunal that invalidated China’s sweeping claims to the South China Sea, a conduit for about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade each year.
- China has never accepted the ruling.
- China lays claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands.
- However, Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also claim parts of the region, believed to hold valuable oil and gas deposits.
South China Sea
- Location: South China Sea is an arm
- stern Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia.
- 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).
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.
- China has been changing the size and structure of the reefs by modifying their physical land features. It has also established airstrips on Parcel and Spratly.
- Chinese fishing fleets are engaged in paramilitary work on behalf of the state rather than the commercial enterprise of fishing.
- The US is very critical of this building of artificial islands and terms these actions of China as building a ‘great wall of sand’.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2019)
Sea – Bordering Country
- Adriatic Sea – Albania
- Black Sea – Croatia
- Caspian Sea – Kazakhstan
- Mediterranean Sea – Morocco
- Red Sea – Syria
Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?
- 1, 2 and 4 only
- 1, 3 and 4 only
- 2 and 5 only
- 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5