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Tensions simmer in one of the busiest waterways - the South China Sea
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South China Sea Maneuvers : EU rejects China's claim to sovereignty
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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 (1,400,000 sq mi). The sea carries tremendous strategic importance; one-third of the world's shipping passes through it carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year, it contains lucrative fisheries that are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia, and huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.