South China Sea Dispute: Important SSB Lecturette Topic
South China Sea Dispute: The South China Sea dispute is over the claimed territorial waters and exclusive economic zones generated by the territory, as well as island chains, such as the Spratlys and Paracels, which are made up of islands, sandbanks, reefs, atolls, etc. The sea carries tremendous strategic importance, one-third of the world shipping passes through it carrying over 3 trillion dollars trade each year, it contains lucrative fisheries that are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia, and huge oil gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.
South China Sea Dispute
As the south china sea is crucial for trade, as well as for maintaining the security of the bordering member states, the territorial disputes have repeatedly led to colliding claims of sovereignty. The five primary claimant countries which have overlapping claims over the south china sea are: China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei. Claimant states are interested in retaining or acquiring the rights to fishing areas, the exploration of crude oil and natural gas in the seabed of various parts of south china sea, and the strategic control of the important shipping lanes.
Even India has taken a strong stand along with united states and European union for free movement and trade in south china sea.
Historical Claims: South China Sea Dispute
The claims of the parties involved in the South China Sea dispute consist of historical claims of discovery and occupation and also claims that rest on the extension of a sovereign, jurisdiction under interpretations of the provisions of UNCLOS. China basis its claim primarily on historical background. According to Chinese history, Spratleyand Parcel islands were first discovered by the Chinese, some Chinese historical document describes the area as Chinese territory since as early as 300 AC. However, its continuous control of the disputed area was interrupted in modern history. Chinese considers itself as a victim of aggressions of imperialism and the conflict between superpowers, which deprives it of its historical claims.
Under the current international law, China will find it hard to defend its claims, thus has refrained from using legal terminology to specify its demands. On the other hand, the Chinese Congress passed a law to claim the territorial waters. Vietnam’s Historical Territory of Vietnam also sees the region as historical territory as china. Vietnam’s claim bases on the inheritance ground to prove its effective and continuous control. However, Vietnam acknowledged Chinese sovereignty over the disputed islands during its war with France and the United States. It started its dispute China’s claim after its relations deteriorated with china in the early 1970s.
Conclusion: South China Sea Dispute
In view of the above, I would like to say that the issue of South China Sea can be resolved if there are enough honest and neutral brokers involved who genuinely want to ensure peaceful co- existence among the littoral states in South China Sea, and refrain from adding fuel to the fire.