China’s claim on offshore resources is dismissed by the US:
The United States officially dismissed China's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea and termed Beijing's campaign of bullying to control them as completely unlawful.
South china sea:
- China Sea is an arm of the western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia.
- It is south of China, east & south of Vietnam, west of the Philippines and north of the island of Borneo.
- Bordering states & territories (clockwise from north): the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- It is connected by Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea.
- It contains numerous shoals, reefs, atolls, and islands. The Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands, and the Scarborough Shoal are the most important.
What makes it so important?
- This sea holds tremendous strategic importance for its location as it is the connecting link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. (Strait of Malacca)
- According to the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), one-third of the global shipping passes through it, carrying trillions of trade which makes it a significant geopolitical water body
- According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines, this sea has one-third of the entire world’s marine biodiversity and contains lucrative fisheries providing food security to the Southeast Asian nations.
- The South China Sea is believed to have huge oil and gas reserves beneath its seabed.
- 1994 – The Convention on the Law of the Sea went into effect. The United States called this treaty the “Law of the Sea Convention.”
- 1997 – Beijing shared the first rendering of its “Nine-dash Line” extending roughly 1,118 miles from Hainan Island to waters off equatorial Borneo under China’s historical claim of having it in the past.
- 2002 – ASEAN and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
- 2009 – China issued two diplomatic notes that appear to claim a majority of the South China Sea.
- 2013 – The Philippines challenged China’s claims of historic rights and other actions in an arbitration case under the Law of the Sea Convention.
- 2016 – The Arbitration Tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines and rejected China’s maritime claims that go beyond the entitlements set out in the Convention.
- China claims most of the contested sea, reaching almost to the Philippines shores and has built artificial islands with heavy military developments on them which worry the neighboring nations and it rejects the UN-backed international tribunal ruling as well.
- The nine-dash line asserted by China violates the principle of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).
- The stalled negotiations between China and ASEAN made headway on the Code of Conduct as four of the ASEAN nations also made territorial claims on the disputed waters which adds to the problem with already non-negotiable behavior of China.
- China’s behavior of negligence, denial, and the sense of superiority while overlooking international laws and regulations like the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- Along with China’s bullying tactics, North Korea’s provocative behavior has attracted US aircraft in the already troubled waters. The growth of military vessels and planes in the area makes it more challenging to handle.
- The undefined geographic scope of the South China Sea; disagreement over dispute settlement mechanisms; different approaches to conflict management (self-restraint, mutual trust, and confidence-building); and the undefined legal status of the Code of Conduct (COC) add to it.
- The different histories of distant, largely uninhabited archipelagos of the sea make the matter more complicated and multifaceted.