Prelims level : International Relation Mains level : GS- II Governance, Social Justice and International Relations
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  • South China Sea is a significant area in the Pacific Ocean.
  • It is the major trade route connecting South East Asia to the Pacific Ocean, China and Japan.
  • China has been claiming the sovereignty over the South China Sea. This has led to the tensions among the nations surrounding the South China Sea.
  • China has been aggressively building artificial island in the area to further their claims in the region and also to establish their military and naval bases in the region. This act has been widely condemned by the
  • Western world and also by India.
  • India’s stand: The dispute over the Sea should be resolved through International laws and consensus. Especially the laws that govern the sea under the UNCLOS.
  • On  15th  June  a  Chinese  vessel  hit  a  Phillipino  fishing  boat  which  escalated  the  ongoing tensions.
  • It  happened  near  Reed Bank over which  Phillipines  claims  sovereignity  as  it  falls within 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone of the  country. However, Beijing also claims the ownership of Reed bank.

Exclusive Economic Zone:

  • It is a law formulated under the UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.  It is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial area; maximum 200 nautical miles from the baselines.
  • -Within the EEZ, the coastal state has the sovereignity over the natural resources.

Within an EEZ a state is allowed to do the following:

  • Create artificial islands. Marine scientific research.
  • Protection and preservation of Marine Environment.
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