• What is its history?
  • Xia and Ham dynasty records – These records are 2000-4000 year old, China has laid to claim on the SCS on the basis of these records.
  • Nine dash line (1947) – drawn by Chinese government to claim South China Sea.
  • UNCLOS – United Nations convention on the law of the sea. UNCLOS III [United Nations conference on the law of sea] – (1973-82) – distributes territorial waters among nations.
  • 21st century developments – Became important because of trade routes, and oil. All countries wanted a share in it. China Claims it more.

 

  • What is the argument about?
  • Territory and sovereignty – China wants the nine dash line implemented. All other countries want china to withdraw from militarizing the area heavily.
  • Spratly and Paracel – These are two important group of island. All the fighting countries want one or another part of it.

 

Who claims what?

  • China – Claims all territory inside the nine dash line but also the entire South China Sea. It has not made its demands very clear.
  • Vietnam – disputes China’s historical claim and says that they were ruling over both spratley and paracel island since 17th
  • Philippines – wants spratley islands as they are close to them along with Scarborough Island.
  • Malaysia – Claims territorial waters around its boundary in the South China Sea and some islands in the spritley group.
  • Brunei – Only South China Sea near its boundary.

 

  • Who has built what?
  • Vietnam – Taiwan and the Philippines – Island building in the South China Sea, and contraction on existing island has been going on for decades, by Vietnam and the Philippines. Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines have all stationed military force on at least some of their islands.
  • China – Entered late but building fast. In the last 18 months, china has reportedly more new island surface them all other nations have contructed throughout history. Only china possesses enough modern military vessels to protest its claims.

 

  • Why china wants it?
  • Dominate major trade route for its imported oil flow.
  • Deny access to foreign military or trade shipments whenever they want. Especially the us.
  • Floor of South China Sea may contain large oil and natural gas reserves.

 

  • What is the US response?
  • Did not oppose previous building activities of other nations like Vietnam or Philippines. But is hell bent against china’s activities there.
  • Freedom of navigation mission – by using aircraft and naval vessels close to Chinese Bases.
  • Also supporting regional allies like Vietnam and Philippines with technology and military hardware to boost their power.

 

  • How is India affected
  • In latest news, the permanent court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled against China’s claims over South China Sea.
  • This means India can now move naval warships through the region without informing the chinese.

 

  • How Should India react
  • Under the Act East policy of the BJP government, India has expanded its role at the maritime navigation, particularly in South East Asia.
  • Hence it can exercise the freedom of navigation principle in international water. This will enhance India’s Credibility and reputation as a maritime power in the re