IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th July, 2023 Geography

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Recent developments related to North Korea's missile launches and the heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.


  • North Korea fired several cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea on Saturday, according to Yonhap news agency.
  • South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported the launches and confirmed cooperation with the United States for analysis.

Missile Launch Details

  • Time of Launch: Around 4:00 am (local time).
  • Type of Missiles: Yet to be determined; subject to analysis by South Korean and US intelligence authorities.
  • Fresh Launches: These come just three days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea.

Heightened Tensions on the Korean Peninsula

  • A nuclear-capable US submarine, USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), visited South Korean waters after more than 40 years.
  • The inaugural session of the South Korea-US Nuclear Consultative Group took place recently.
  • North Korea criticized the SSBN's deployment and hinted at potential use of nuclear weapons.

South Korean Response

  • South Korea warned that any nuclear attack from North Korea would lead to the end of the Kim Jong Un-led regime.
  • The South Korean military bolstered surveillance and vigilance while closely cooperating with the United States.

About Yellow Sea

  • The Yellow Sea covers an area of approximately 380,000 square kilometers (146,900 square miles).
  • It is situated between the eastern shores of mainland China and the western shores of the Korean Peninsula.
  • To the northwest, the Yellow Sea is connected to the Bohai Sea through the Bohai Strait.
  • It opens to the south into the Korea Strait, which leads to the East China Sea.

Hydrology and Salinity

  • The Yellow Sea gets its name from the large amount of yellow sediment carried by the rivers flowing into it, particularly the Yellow River in China.
  • Several rivers, including the Yangtze, Yellow, and Yalu Rivers, discharge into the Yellow Sea, contributing to its high sediment content.
  • The sea experiences a mix of freshwater inflow from these rivers and seawater from the open ocean, leading to a lower salinity compared to the surrounding oceans.

Biodiversity and Marine Life

  • The Yellow Sea supports a diverse range of marine life due to the mixing of freshwater and saltwater, creating a unique ecosystem.
  • The area is known for its rich fishery resources and is an important fishing ground for countries in the region.
  • Various species of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks can be found in the Yellow Sea.

Economic Importance

  • The Yellow Sea plays a crucial role in the economies of the countries that border it, especially China and South Korea.
  • It serves as an essential fishing ground, supporting local fisheries and providing a significant source of livelihood for coastal communities.
  • The sea also facilitates maritime trade, connecting major ports in China and South Korea.

Disputes and Security Concerns

  • The Yellow Sea has been a subject of territorial disputes and geopolitical tensions between China and neighboring countries.
  • The maritime boundaries in the region are not universally agreed upon, leading to occasional conflicts over fishing rights and territorial claims.
  • Tensions in the region have also been influenced by North Korea's military activities and missile launches.

Environmental Challenges

  • The Yellow Sea faces environmental challenges, primarily due to human activities, such as pollution and overfishing.
  • The high level of sedimentation from the rivers can lead to siltation and impact coastal ecosystems.
  • Efforts are being made to address these environmental issues through regional cooperation and conservation initiatives.

Military Activities and Surveillance

  • The Yellow Sea's proximity to North Korea has made it a significant area for military activities and surveillance.
  • Countries in the region, particularly South Korea and the United States, closely monitor North Korea's military movements, including missile tests and naval activities.

Importance for Regional Stability

  • Given its strategic location and economic significance, the Yellow Sea's stability and peaceful cooperation among the countries in the region are crucial for regional security and prosperity.
  • International cooperation and diplomatic efforts play a vital role in managing disputes and maintaining stability in the area.


Q) Discuss the environmental, economic, and security implications of the Yellow Sea's unique characteristics. Analyze the challenges faced in maintaining regional stability and suggest measures for promoting cooperation among the countries bordering the Yellow Sea. (250 words)