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South China Sea

Flashpoint for the Next Global Conflict

 

As it is said, that old habit die hard and China has yet proven again, that they have no thoughts of changing their old habits of creating nuisance in the world.  They continue claiming the areas which has nothing to do with China historically. The perpetrator of COVID-19 pandemic have not stopped there, they are here to make situation worst. The greed-driven Communist Party elite of China feels, the route to global domination, is the centuries-old tyrannical Chinese Emperor legacy of Legalism (worshipping the Ruling class unequivocally). Thus, assuming Chinese superiority over the whole world,  it has made everyone it’s enemy and now is facing world isolation.

Black Line Denotes The Southernmost Tip Of China

South china sea dispute is not a new topic but a heated one, currently. It is a conflicting topic between various countries that lay in Indo Pacific region, geopolitically. South China Sea has great significance and importance when it comes to trade and merchant shipping. The countries that are party to this dispute are China, Brunei, Taiwan, The Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.  The following are some major reasons of dispute in South China Sea:

*Crude oil and natural gas

*Fishing Wealth

*Important shipping lanes

Historical Background

Subsequent to end of the world war II, the South China Sea was a peaceful area. The disputes started arising as soon as the countries started discovering the advantages of South China Sea.

In the year 1947, China claimed the entire South China Sea. It claimed by marking a U shape on the map via eleven dashes. In early 1950s two dashes were removed.

In 1994 United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) came in force, which established a legal framework to maintain balance of interest relating to economy and security of coastal states. Almost all countries having coastal boundaries in South China Sea have signed UNCLOS, that have legitimized their claims over the South China Sea. To keep the disputes away, China, signed a declaration on code of conduct of parties in South China Sea in 2002 with ASEAN. Irrespective of China’s perceived objectives, the outcome of this declaration was not what they desired for. Later in the year 2009, Vietnam and Malaysia sent a joint submission to Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) for claim settlements. As it was expected, China countered this, by putting forward the infamous nine-dash line map. Dispute resolution was not seen to come to a conclusive decision.

Role of US in South China Sea

USA doesn’t share it’s borders in the South China Sea, but is seen to be part of the dispute. USA has only one focus when comes to this dispute, and that is International trade along with free navigation of vessels in that area. South China Sea is a region where maximum trade exchange happens, and is required to be free to access, for all the countries. USA over the time has conducted various military patrols with countries like Japan, Australia, Philippines and Indonesia. Being the superpower, USA has been a significant financial supporter to ASEAN and East Asian Military enhancement. It lead to strengthening bilateral defence with the various countries.

Freedom Of Navigation Patrolling

India’s stand on South China Sea

Since the very start, India’s stand on the South China Sea has been neutral, i.e. no official position to any of the party to the dispute. India’s status and stand over this dispute has been for open sea lanes, however changed with the growing heavy handed tactics of China, and with change in the ties with the East Asian countries. India has indirectly raised concern over the illegitimate claims made by China. India, since aftermath of Hague Tribunal verdict on South China Sea (which has quashed China’s illegal claims), has been obligated to take an in principle stand on freedom of navigation and commercial access enshrined in UNCLOS.

India, despite of China’s illegal claim, has continued oil exploration in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, where ONGC Videsh Ltd supplies oil to Vietnam. By continuous exploration of oil, it is a direct message to China that India doesn’t support China’s frivolous claims and bullying of neighbours.

Assessment

When the whole world is battling against the Chinese created pandemic, China isn’t making things easy for various countries. In the middle of the pandemic, China is looking for opportunity to claim territories, have clashes on borders and create tension, leading to destroying peace and harmony. Till now a bully to its own citizens, China is out to implement its tyrannical world order. World is just not battling the pandemic but also the pandemic originator. The world stands united against such bullying that has been continuously tried by China’s Communist Party.

South China Sea’s militarization by China is being actively resisted by ASEAN and thwarted by the Quad. India, oews a moral obligation to ASEAN for ensuring hegemony and bullying tactics is actively resisted, in principle and in deeds.

20 July 20/Monday                                                                                 Written By: Shefali Chauhan

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