How China’s Claims Over South China Sea Sparked Regional Tension
(Photo: The Quint)
  • 1. Geography of the Divided Waters
  • 2. South China Sea – the New Silk Route
  • 3. Tapping into South China Sea’s ‘Oil Potential’
  • 4. China Playing ‘Big Brother’ – But Not Without Resistance
How China’s Claims Over South China Sea Sparked Regional Tension

Beijing’s push to control the South China Sea, marked by increased military presence, has been a bone of contention in Southeast Asia for some months now. While China tries to play ‘big brother,’ neighbours such as Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia look to the United States for support. With Xi Jinping securing his position as China’s president for years to come, matters are only expected to get worse.

Here’s a look at how geo-politics over the crucial sea has played out so far.

  • 1. Geography of the Divided Waters

    The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing around 3,500,000 square kilometres from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan.

    The sea bears tremendous strategic importance: one-third of the world’s shipping passes through it, facilitating more than USD 3 trillion in trade each year.  

    It also contains lucrative fisheries that are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia, and huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.

    See the map for the exact location of the sea and its surrounding nations.

    How China’s Claims Over South China Sea Sparked Regional Tension

    The South China Sea functions as the ‘throat’ of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans where global sea routes coalesce.

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