What is the south china sea – The South China Sea is about 35 million square kilometers wide. It is part of the Pacific Ocean. It is the world’s leading trading waterways. About one-third trading of the world through this route. There is the availability of large amounts of natural resources in the South China Sea. Vast amounts of Minerals, oil, gas and including other important natural resources in the sea has been predicted. Because of which, countries related to the sea as well as the other countries of the world also have increased the interest in this sea.
It is located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. Its position is between Asia and Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. Its northern boundary touches Taiwan, Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi of China. It touches the borders of the Philippines in the east. It is linked to the borders of the Indo-China Peninsula and the Malay Peninsula in the west. Palau Sumatra and Palau Kalimatra are situated after its southern boundary. The South China Sea is connected with the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean through Bashi Channel, Sulu Sea, and the Malacca Strait.
What is the dispute
The dispute between China, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia over maritime territory in the South China Sea. Hundreds of small islands are situated in the South China Sea. The Spratly Islands and Paracel island is major in them. The situation of dispute for rights over the islands. The dispute between China, Taiwan, and Vietnam for Paracel Islands which has More than 30 islands. The dispute between Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and China for the Spratly Islands which has more than 700 islands. The suit filed by the Philippines to the Permanent Court of Arbitration on January 22, 2013 against the China’s claims over most part of the South China Sea.
Permanent Court of Arbitration
Permanent Court of Arbitration is situated in The Hague in the Netherlands. It is an international governmental organization which was established in 1899 by the Hague Convention. Hague convention on the pacific settlement of the international dispute. The tribunal was constituted on June 21, 2013, at the unilateral request of the Philippines, according to the Article VII of UNCLOS.
Law of UNCLOS
According to the rule of “United Nations convention on the Law of Sea”, A country can use its exclusive economic jurisdiction up to 200 nautical miles from the coastline in the context of Natural resources and various economic activities. However, other countries will be free for shipping and fly aircraft in the exclusive economic zone. The Convention was signed on 10 December 1982. It took effect in 16, November 1994. China approved it in 1996.
Principle of Terra Nullius
Terra Nullius is a Latin word, which means nobody’s land. Which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state. According to the principle, a free land on which not a person or a nation has claimed. The first state who discovered the land and used it considered as a land owner. However, just discovering and consumption only does not give the right to ownership. continuous administrative control is also considered a strong base for It.
The Decision of Permanent Court of Arbitration
Tribunals gave his decision on July 12, 2016. According to the decision, China’s historical claim has no basis in the sea area in Nine-Dash Line determines by China. Tribunals criticized China also on the ecological damage to some part of the Spratly Islands. China is affecting here ecology negatively by excessive fishing and build the artificial islands.
The region spread over hundreds of kilometers in the southeastern part of Hainan Island. It has been named the nine-dash line. China claims the area on the basis of 2000 years of history when the two islands Spratly and Paracel was its integral part. But Vietnam rejects china’s claim always and justifying his own claim in this area. This area was called by different names at different times. Due to the claim on the region by the countries they gave name according to their interests.
Nine-dash line has been called Ten-Dash Line and 11-dash line named also. China demarcated Its territorial claims in the South China Sea in 1946. It demarcation was done through the line of the U shape. The U-shaped line was created through the 11-dash line. It was published on China’s map in 1947. In 1952, it was accepted in the San Francisco Peace Treaty Conference. During the Vietnam War,China had reduced its maritime boundary Two dashes for the traffic path in this region for Vietnam. Thus the 11-dash line was converted into 9-dash line. Now China claims his rights to approximately 85 percent part of the South China Sea through 9-dash line.
Tribunal gave the decision to rescind the China’s historic rights in the South China Sea. In protest, China has issued a white paper. China claims that its rights on the South China Sea is historical. China’s rights over the area about 2000 years old. According to the China, the tribunal’s 4 of the 5 judges were from Europe and 1 from Africa. They have no Historical knowledge of the Asia Pacific region. China has refused to accept the tribunal’s decision. Prior, China has officially refused to participate in tribunal hearings on 19 February 2013. China’s argument was that according to the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea 2002 ” in the region will have to handle disputes through bilateral negotiations.
The Philippines’s arguments
The Philippines believes that the claim on the South China Sea by China under nine- dash line is a violation of the agreement of UNCLOS. UNCLOS determines the rights and responsibility of nations to use of the world’s oceans and seas. The Philippines bases its claim on its geographical proximity to the Spratly Islands.
Other Claimants of the South China Sea
India supports the rights of such countries, e.g. Brunei, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam etc. who nestled along the sea. Foreign minister John Kerry said that India’s maritime boundary dispute with Bangladesh on the tribunal’s decision is an example to the whole world that he had accepted. For resolve such disputes, India has shown the way to the whole world. The US Secretary of State appealed to China and the Philippines to accede to the international tribunal’s decision. He said that I believe that the decision is legally binding. We are not interested in increasing confrontation. But through the legal process, we are encouraging efforts to resolve it.
India’s great concern that traffic may disrupt on important waterways for commercial and naval ships due to any clash. More than half of India’s trade passes from these waterways. That is why India with other countries on the question of freedom of navigation, but on the question of rights of jurisdiction avoids the bringing bitterness in relations with China. India’s fear is that China may be in a position to the point of decision who could waterways navigation in the South China Sea, and who could not.
The United States of America
US President Barack Obama has warned that the international tribunal’s decision on the South China Sea, is binding. Obama said to China to respect the rule of law. He also said that China should not take unilateral steps that could increase tensions. America has not direct interest in the case. Even the US is not the party in this case. Its concern about like other countries for freedom of navigation etc.