The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres.
A marginal sea is a division of an ocean, partially enclosed by islands, archipelagos, or peninsulas, adjacent to or widely open to the open ocean at the surface, and/or bounded by submarine ridges on the sea floor.
Malacca,Chinese: 马六甲, dubbed "The Historic State", is a state in Malaysia and located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Straits of Malacca.
The Strait of Malacca or Straits of Malacca is a narrow, 850 km stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
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The area's importance largely results from one-third of the world's shipping sailing through its waters and that it is believed to hold huge oil and gas reserves beneath its seabed.
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south of China;
east of Vietnam and Cambodia;
Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
west of the Philippines;
The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean.
east of the Malay peninsula and Sumatra, up to the Strait of Malacca in the west and
Sumatra is a large island in western Indonesia that is part of the Sunda Islands.
north of the Bangka–Belitung Islands and Borneo
BHP Billiton is an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
The Bangka-Belitung Islands is a province of Indonesia, previously a part of South Sumatra Province.
The minute South China Sea Islands, collectively an archipelago, number in the hundreds.
The South China Sea Islands consist of over 250 islands, atolls, cays, shoals, reefs, and sandbars in the South China Sea, none of which have indigenous people, few of which have any natural water supply, many of which are naturally under water at high tide, while others are permanently submerged.
An archipelago, sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands.
The sea and its mostly uninhabited islands are subject to competing claims of sovereignty by several countries.
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water.
These claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea.