One of the busiest waterways in the world and a significant gateway for trade and merchant shipping are the South China Sea. There is a long-time-running dispute over it. The maritime disputes in the South China Sea really impact the series of regional bilateral relations and wake to the trouble ties between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


  1. The claim of different territories over the Sea and territorial demarcation of the sea. 2. Exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and cases related to water bodies, are the zones that mostly overlap each other over different territories.
  2. As the major source of natural resources Sea is disputed for different territories.

Recently China warned off a USA warship sailing near contested parcel islands in the south China sea. Which became the reason for this disputed region to become in news again.


It all goes at the height of World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy have used some islands for military reasons and stated those islands were unclaimed, though ignoring the historical records stated that France had controlled some of those islands before the time of their colonial possessions fell into the hands of the Japanese.

The south China sea was claimed by the Chinese as described in part by the nine-dash line. It was originally an eleven dashed line the line was first indicated by the Kuomintang govt. of the Republic of China in 1947, for the claim over the South China sea. Later the Communist Party of China took over China and then formed the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The eleven dashed line was revised to nine-dashed lines as it was endorsed by Zhou Enlai. China’s declaration of 1958 claimed and described China’s took over on the South China Sea islands according to the nine dotted line map.

After the First Indochina War ended gave South Vietnam had control of the Vietnamese territories south of the 17th parallel which include the islands in the Parcels and Spratley. Two years later South Vietnam took control over the Paracel islands through the North Vietnamese govt. claimed that the Peoples’ Republic of China is the lawful claimant of the islands.


South China sea holds very strategic importance for its location. It connects the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), one-third of the global shipping passes through it, carrying trillions of trades which makes it a significant geopolitical water body.



It claims that the ancient history records show that China held control over the entire waterways and it was only during the modern era that the dispute began. The country also raised legal concerns and rights over the sea. Though the country was not successful in proving its claim over the region.


It claims on the basis of Inheritance grounds. In the 1970s that the country raised its claim after its relations with China deteriorated.


It claims the feature in the southern Spratley falls inside the border of Malaysia’s continent which makes their claim acceptable on legal grounds.


Its only claims the part of the sea which comes under its exclusive Special Economic Zones.


This country also claims the only part that comes under their special economic zone on the basis of its historical grounds.


Claims are based on EEZ as mentioned by the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS).


India has maintained a neutral stand on this issue because it is not a party in this issue but to protect its economic and energy interest India in recent has changed its stand, internationalized this issue, and deployed its navy with Vietnam in the South China Sea to Protect Sea Lanes of Communication.


A dispute in the South China sea is no longer a regional issue it is the route for one-third of the world trade route and every big economic country has an economic interest in the south China sea. In recent India, Japan, America, and Australia for a group i.e., quad. This group is a China-centered group just because of China’s aggression. So now it is a matter of interest how these countries deal with China’s aggression and how this dispute will be resolved.

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