IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


11th March, 2024 International News


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Picture Courtesy:  https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2014/07/world/south-china-sea-dispute/

Context: The Second Thomas Shoal, located in the South China Sea, has recently become a point of dispute between China and the Philippines. The incident involved Chinese Coast Guard ships attempting to block a Philippine mission to supply troops stationed on the grounded navy vessel in Second Thomas Shoal.

Key Highlights

  • The Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, represents the Philippines' resistance in the South China Sea. The Philippines claims that China Coast Guard ships clashed with their vessels on a regular trip to provide supplies to troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre.
  • The Philippines acquired Second Thomas Shoal in the late 1990s, intentionally grounding the BRP Sierra Madre to establish an outpost and strengthen its claim to the Spratly Islands. Many nations, including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, have made claims to the Spratly Islands.
  • The Philippines claims that the Second Thomas Shoal is within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under international law.
  • China claims ownership over the majority of the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, referring to the historical Nine-dash line.
  • In 2013, the Philippines filed a complaint against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, challenging the legality of China's claims. The court ruled in favour of the Philippines in 2016, but China rejected the decision.
  • The latest tensions between China and the Philippines are worrying, given China's past annexation of the Mischief Reef in 1995. Mischief Reef's proximity to Second Thomas Shoal raises safety concerns for the Philippines, potentially exposing it to Chinese aggression.

Must Read Articles:

SOUTH CHINA SEA:  https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/south-china-sea-23#:~:text=It%20is%20a%20western%20Pacific,both%20Pacific%20Ocean%20peripheral%20seas


Q. There are concerns about a possible arms race in the South China Sea due to China's fast military expansion, which includes the construction of artificial islands. How can regional players deal with the growing militarization while avoiding conflict and encouraging peaceful dispute resolution?