South China Sea Dispute

 ☛ What is South China Sea ?

➜ The South China Sea is a disputed area involve both island and maritime claims by different nations namely Brunei, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

☛ Why it is important ?

➜ The South China Sea is a busy international waterway. It is one of the main arteries of the global economy and trade especially for Asian nations. More than $5 trillion of world trade are going through South China Sea. South China Sea, a maritime region believed to hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves .

☛ Why there is dispute regarding South China sea?

➜ China laid claim South China sea dated back to 1947. China support its claim by citing 2,000 years of history when the two island chains were regarded as its integral parts. It demarcated its claims with a U-shaped line made up of eleven dashes on a map, covering most of  the area. China faces challenge from other nations  namely Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines  and Taiwan . China claim over strategic part of South China Sea is the main point of concern for the whole world.

☛ What is " nine-dash " line?

➜ Nine-dash line refers to the demarcation line made  by the government of the Republic of China for their claims of the major part of the South China Sea. Nine-dash line is not recognized by other rival nations.

☛ How the dispute has unfolded in history?

1947: China demarcates its South China Sea territorial claims with a U-shaped line made up of eleven dashes on a map, covering most of the area.

1994: The 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, under which the Philippines has taken China to arbitration, goes into effect after 60 countries ratify it. The agreement defines territorial waters, continental shelves and exclusive economic zones. The Philippines joined the convention in 1984, and China in 1996.

1995 : China takes control of disputed Mischief Reef, constructing octagonal huts on stilts that Chinese officials say will serve as shelters for fishermen. The Philippines lodges a protest through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

1997 : Philippine naval ships prevent Chinese boats from approaching Scarborough Shoal, eliciting a protest from China. The uninhabited reef, known as Huangyan Island in China, is 230 kilometres off the Philippines and about 1,000 kilometres from China. In ensuing years, the Philippines detains Chinese fishermen numerous times for alleged illegal fishing in the area.

2009 : China submits its nine-dash line map to the United Nations, stating it “has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.” The submission came in response to applications by Vietnam and Malaysia for recognition of extended continental shelves, which would give them resource rights. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia protest the Chinese claim.

2011 : The Philippines files a diplomatic protest after a chartered ship searching for oil and gas and in Reed Bank near the Spratly Islands complained of being harassed by two Chinese patrol boats, forcing it to change course.

2012 : China takes effective control of Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff between Chinese coast guard ships and a Philippine naval vessel that had stopped a Chinese fishing boat to inspect it.

2013 : The Philippines brings its dispute with China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, angering Beijing. A five-member panel of international legal experts is appointed in June to hear the case.

2014 : The Philippine government summons China’s top envoy in Manila in February to protest what it said was the firing of a water cannon by a Chinese government vessel to drive away Filipino fishermen from Scarborough Shoal. China ignores the protest and calls its sovereignty there “indisputable.”

China issues a position paper in December arguing that the panel does not have jurisdiction over the case, because it concerns issues of sovereignty and boundary definition, which are not covered by the U.N. convention, and that the Philippines and China had agreed to settle their dispute only through negotiation.

2015 : The arbitration panel in The Hague rules in October that it has jurisdiction over at least seven of the 15 claims raised by the Philippines. A hearing on the merits of the claims is held in November. China does not participate.

☛ Recent step taken regarding South China sea dispute?

➜ International court strikes down China's territorial claim over South China Sea. Arbitration tribunal in The Hague rejected China's claims to rights over strategic part of the South China Sea .Philippines approached to the Arbitration tribunal regarding china's claim over the south china sea and got ruling into its favor according to international sea law. The tribunal found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, constructing artificial islands and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.

Ruling in accord with Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty is voluntary in nature and not mandatory. So China swiftly rejected an international tribunal's ruling saying that its expansive claim to the South China Sea had no legal basis, saying the ruling was null and void and that Beijing would not accept it.

☛ India's Interest in South China Sea?
➜ For India South China sea is one of the important trade route with the south Asian nations. Although India has not openly rejected the claim of china over the disputed area but  India, too has a lot of commercial interest in the region. Vietnam has offered India seven oil blocks in its territory of south china sea, a move that didn’t pleased to the  China. India has signed energy deals with Brunei too.

"China" one of the emerging economy and military power need to learn and respect other nations also. China has to solve the dispute with other island nations with only negotiations .


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