IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th September, 2023 Environment

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


The South China Sea:

  • It is a western Pacific Ocean arm that borders the Southeast Asian continent.
  • China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam form its borders.
  • The Taiwan Strait connects it to the East China Sea, and the Luzon Strait connects it to the Philippine Sea (both Pacific Ocean peripheral seas).
  • The China Sea is formed by the South China Sea and the East China Sea.


  • The Paracel Islands, which China controls, and the Spratly Islands are the two largest archipelagos.
  • Climate: The weather at sea is tropical and dominated by monsoons.
  • It is the world's second busiest maritime lane. It is an important trading route for crude oil from the Persian Gulf and Africa to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan via the Malacca Strait.
  • Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan are major ports.

South China Sea Countries

  • The People’s Republic of China
  • The Republic of China (Taiwan)
  • The Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Brunei
  • Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam

South China Sea dispute

China’s Claim over the South China Sea

  • China asserts sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands.
  • Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam all have claims in the region, which is estimated to have substantial oil and gas deposits.

China's Proclamation Regarding the South China Sea

  • Since 2010, China has been transforming uninhabited islets into artificial islets to put them within the jurisdiction of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (examples include Haven Reef, Johnson South Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef).
  • China has been changing the reefs' physical land features to change their size and structure. It has also constructed airstrips on the Parcel and Spratly islands.
  • Chinese fishing boats are more engaged in state-sponsored paramilitary work than in commercial fishing. The United States strongly condemns China's actions.

Reasons for Dispute in the South China Sea

  • China, Taiwan, and Vietnam all claim the Paracel Islands.
  • China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines all claim the Spratly Islands.
  • The Philippines, China, and Taiwan all claim the Scarborough Shoal.


With China's rise as a global force, how do you anticipate the international system evolving in the future?