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Ten-Dash Line, Nine-Dash Line and Overlapping Claims in the South China Sea

Ten-Dash Line

  • Context (REUTERS): China has released a new “standard map”, which includes the ten-dash line.
  • Ten-dash line is a U-shaped line (with ten dashes) in the South China Sea.
  • With the ten-dash line, China is claiming over 90% of the South China Sea.
  • It is an extended version of the nine-dash line.

Nine-dash line

  • It is lined with nine dashes claiming a part of the South China Sea.
  • China introduced it for the first time in 1947.
  • It was a part of China’s map submitted to the UN in 2009.
  • According to China, it is based on its historic maps.

Nine-dash line South China Sea

Overlapping Claims in the South China Sea

Other countries in the South China Sea claim the area which is included in the nine-dash line.

  1. Paracels and the Spratlys Islands:
    • Many countries claim these islands.
    • Vietnam claims both islands. It says it has actively ruled over both the Paracels and the Spratlys since the 17th Century.
    • The Philippines’ claim over the Spratly Islands is based on its geographical proximity.
    • Malaysia claims a small number of islands in the Spratlys.
  2. Scarborough Shoal Island:
    • Both the Philippines and China lay claim to the Scarborough Shoal.
    • It is more than 100 miles from the Philippines and 500 miles from China.
  3. Exclusion Economic Zones (EEZ):
    • Malaysia and Brunei claim that territories included in the Nine-dash line fall within their EEZ.

South China Sea Arbitration

  • The Philippines approached the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • UNCLOS was ratified by the Philippines in 1984 and China in 1996.
  • In 2016, the PCA ruled in favour of the Philippines on most of its submissions.
  • It said China does not have a legal basis to claim historic rights over a large part of the South China Sea. China did not participate in the proceeding and rejected its ruling.
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