South China Sea Current Affairs - 2019

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Vietnam renews Indian Oil Deal

Vietnam has granted ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128 in the South China Sea. The permission was first granted in the year 2006 which is due to expire in mid-June.

The part of the oil block 128 is in the U-shaped ‘nine-dash line,’ the area which is claimed by China. The area is also a route for more than $5 trillion in trade every year and is also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

In the areas south of block 128, the drilling works have already commenced. The block is owned jointly by Vietnam’s state oil firm, Spain’s Repsol and Mubadala Development Co of the United Arab Emirates.

Background

Despite sharing common communist ideology and growing trade, China and Vietnam have competing maritime claims and centuries-old mistrust. China has been opposing Vietnam’s drilling activities in the South China Sea and has opposed to its unilateral, illegal oil and gas activities in the South China Sea in which it has territorial claims.

China is also concerned at Vietnam’s evolving security relationships with the United States and Japan. Both United States and Japan has been offering moral support to Vietnam and helping Vietnam’s coastguard.

South China Sea Dispute

China has been aggressively claiming the entire South China Sea as its own. The other countries that claim the various territories in the South China Sea are Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The South China Sea is part of Pacific Ocean spreading an area of some 35 lakh square km with eight littoral countries/territories viz. China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam. It is strategically located in the international shipping route that sees the passage of world’s half of the merchant ships.

India-Vietnam

Vietnam has welcomed India to play a bigger role in Southeast Asia and specifically, the South China Sea. Vietnam is following the strategy of seeking many partnerships with big powers while avoiding formal military alliances.

India has provided naval patrol boats, satellite cover to monitor Vietnam’s waters and training for its submarines and fighter pilots. India is providing more military support than it is currently offering to any other South-east Asian country. Further, under the $500 million defence credit line announced by India last year, India will transfer naval vessels and missiles to Vietnam.

Month: Categories: International

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South China Sea Dispute: China launches Research Project to Compile Data on Disputed Region

China has launched a research project aimed at compiling historical data obtained during earlier expeditions conducted by its teams to the disputed South China Sea since the late 1950s.

Salient Highlights

The research project is one among the 14 resource investigation programmes approved by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Under the project, Chinese researchers will collect and compile valuable data and materials which were obtained by China during its major ocean expeditions to the South China Sea and its affiliated islands and reefs. China expects that a comparative analysis and research done into the data will offer insight into the resources, environment and changes related to the South China Sea and its affiliated islands and reefs.

Around 193 scholars with specialisation in fields such as marine life, ecology, fishery and geology from China’s 10 domestic research institutions and universities will take part in the initiative. Retired expedition members would also be invited to assist in this programme to ensure the reliability and precision of the data.

South China Sea Dispute

China has been aggressively claiming the entire South China Sea as its own. The other countries that claim the various territories in the South China Sea are Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
The South China Sea is part of Pacific Ocean spreading an area of some 35 lakh square km with eight littoral countries/territories viz. China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam. It is strategically located in the international shipping route that sees the passage of world’s half of the merchant ships. The sea is rich in energy reserves including petroleum, mineral and fishing resources. It is made of some 200 tiny islands, coral reefs, shoals, sandbanks etc. grouped into three archipelagos of Spratlys, Paracels and Pratas. The Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal are also part of South China Sea. Several countries have made competing territorial claims over the South China Sea. Such disputes have been regarded as Asia’s most potentially dangerous point of conflict.

Month: Categories: International

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