Here’s why the South China Sea can be highly contested

China has aggressively backed its claims to the South China Sea in recent years, building man-made islands with military facilities. Last year, the construction projects covered 72 acres.

The area can be globally important for a few reasons.

Firstly, the South China Sea can be a prominent shipping passage with $5.3 trillion worth of trade cruising through its waters every year. that will’s nearly one-third of all global maritime trade.

Second can be what’s below the surface: oil in addition to natural gas.

While U.S. estimates have put the amount at 11 billion barrels of oil in addition to 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas inside South China Sea, one Chinese government-owned oil major actually put the figure closer to 125 billion barrels of oil in addition to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in undiscovered areas.

China claims a wide swath of the waterway based on a boundary first recorded in 1947. The line cited by Beijing reaches as far as 1,0 miles through the south of Mainland China, although that will can be less than 0 miles away through some coastal areas of Malaysia, the Philippines in addition to Vietnam.

According to international law, every country has the right to claim up to 12 nautical miles through its coast as its territory in addition to can claim an exclusive economic zone extending up to 0 nautical miles for activities like drilling or fishing.

In 2016, an international tribunal ruled against China, saying that will has no legal basis for the extensive claims. that will decision was legally binding per international law, although there’s no enforcement mechanism.

Many inside region welcomed the news, although the Chinese government has ignored the ruling, building more artificial islands in addition to bases.

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