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South China Sea & Nine-dash line: Pointers

South China Sea

  • It is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean
  • It encompasses an area from the Karimata and Malacca Straitsto the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres.
  • It is bordered by China in the north, Vietnam and Cambodia in the west, Philippines in the east and Borneo Island in the south.
  • Significance of South China Sea
  1. It is believed to hold huge oil and gas reserves beneath its seabed
  2. One-third of the world’s shipping sails through its waters and that.
  • On 12 July 2016, an arbitral tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled that China has no legal basis to claim “historic rights” within its nine-dash line in a case brought by the Philippines. The tribunal judged that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources within the nine-dash line. The ruling was rejected by the Chinese government

 

Nine-dash line

  • Nine-dash line/nine-segment line, and at various times also referred to as the “10-dash line” or the “11-dash line”
  • It refers to the demarcation line used initially by the government of the Republic of China/ Taiwan and subsequently also by the government of the People’s Republic of China, for their claims of the major part of the South China Sea.
  • The contested area in the South China Sea includes the Parcel Islands, Spratly Islands, Pratas Islands, Macclesfield Bank, Scarborough Shoals, etc. which collectively forms the proposed Great Wall of Sand of China.
  • An early map showing a U-shaped eleven-dash line was published in the then Republic of China on 1 December 1947. Two of the dashes in the Gulf of Tonkin were later removed at the behest of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, reducing the total to nine. Subsequent editions added a dash to the other end of the line, covering Taiwan under its claim and extending it into the East China Sea.
  • Despite having made the vague claim public in 1947, China has not (as of 2016) filed a formal and specifically defined claim to the area within the dashes.

 

Great wall of sand

  • Is the phrase “great wall of sand” was first used by Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Fleet in March 2015
  • It is a name used by the media for a series of land reclamationprojects undertaken by the People’s Republic of China since late 2013 in the South China Sea.
  • Its main purpose is to strengthen PRC’s territorial claimsto the region demarcated by the Nine-dash line.
  • They are created by dredging sand on to coral reefs to create artificial islands which are then concreted to make permanent structures.
  • By the time of the 2015 Shangri- La Dialogue, over 810 hectares of new land had been created

 

Shangri- La Dialogue

  • It is a “Track One” inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states.
  • The forum gets its name from the Shangri- La Hotel in Singaporewhere it has been held since 2002.
  • The summit serves to cultivate a sense of community among the most important policymakers in the defence and security community in the region. While primarily an inter-governmental meeting, the summit is also attended by legislators, academic experts, distinguished journalists and business delegates.
  • The participants include Canada, Germany, Japan, China, India, UK and USA, among others.
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