East China Sea

East China Sea

Coordinates: 30°N 125°E / 30°N 125°E / 30; 125

East China Sea
Mar de China Oriental - BM WMS 2004.jpg
The East China Sea, showing surrounding regions, islands, and cities
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 東海 or 東中國海
Simplified Chinese 东海 or 东中国海
Japanese name
Kanji 東シナ海 or 東支那海 (literally "East Shina Sea")
Kana ひがしシナかい
Korean name
Hangul 동중국해
Hanja 東中國海

The East China Sea is a marginal sea east of China. It is a part of the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of 1,249,000 km² or 750,000 square miles.



The East China Sea is bounded on the east by the Kyūshū and Ryukyu Islands of Japan, on the south by the island of Taiwan, and on the west by mainland China and the Asian continent. It is connected with the South China Sea by the Taiwan Strait and with the Sea of Japan by the Korea Strait; it opens in the north to the Yellow Sea.

States with borders on the sea (clockwise from north) include: South Korea, Japan, Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China. Max depth: 3,000 m.


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the "Eastern China Sea (Tung Hai)" as follows:[1]

On the south. The northern limit of the South China Sea [From Fuki Kaku the north point of Formosa to Kiushan Tao (Turnabout Island) on to the south point of Haitan Tao (25°25'N) and thence westward on the parallel of 25°24' north to the coast of Fukien], thence from Santyo the northeastern point of Formosa to the west point of Yonakuni Island and thence to Haderuma Sima (24°03′N 123°47′E / 24.05°N 123.783°E / 24.05; 123.783).

On the east. From Haderuma Sima a line including the Miyako Retto to the east point of Miyako Sima and thence to Okinan Kaku, the southern extremity of Okinawa Sima through this island to Ada-Ko Sima (Sidmouth Island) on to the East point of Kikai Sima (28°20'N) through Tanegra Sima (30°30'N) to the north point thereof and on to Hi-Saki (31'17'N) in Kyūshū.

On the north. From Nomo Saki (32°35'N) in Kyusyu to the south point of Hukae Sima (Goto Retto) and on through this island to Ose Saki (Cape Goto) and to Hunan Kan, the South point of Saisyu To (Quelpart), through this island to its western extreme and thence along the parallel of 33°17' north to the mainland.

On the west. The mainland of China.


The Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) is the largest river flowing into the East China Sea.

Islands and reefs

  • Senkaku Islands (Japanese) or Diaoyu Islands (Chinese). Disputed.
  • Tong Island

There is a cluster of submerged reefs in the northern East China Sea. These include:

  • Socotra Rock, also called Suyan Rock or Ieodo, subject of an EEZ dispute between the People's Republic of China and South Korea.
  • Hupijiao Rock (虎皮礁)
  • Yajiao Rock (鸭礁)


An 1836 French map of China and Japan, referring to the East China Sea as Mer de Corée (Sea of Korea).

Within the 19th Century, the sea was known as the Mer de Corée (Sea of Korea) in French, and was one of the three main seas within East Asia, the other two being Mer du Japon (Sea of Japan) to the north and Mer de Chine (Sea of China, today the South China Sea) to the south.

Until World War II, the sea was referred to as 東支那海 (Higashi Shina Kai; "East Shina Sea") in Japanese. In 2004, official documents of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and other departments switched to the name 東シナ海 (pronounced the same), which has become the standard usage in Japan.

EEZ disputes

There are disputes between the People's Republic of China (PRC), Japan, and South Korea over the extent of their respective exclusive economic zones.

The dispute between PRC and Japan concerns the different application of UNCLOS II and UNCLOSE III. Japan proposed the 200 nm / Median line division of EEZ based on UNCLOS II. China proposed UNCLOS III which is more favorable to continental nations, which used the continental shelf as the basis for EEZ division.

The People's Republic of China (PRC) recently discovered that there exists an undersea natural gas field in the East China Sea, part of the field lies within the Chinese EEZ while the remaining lies on the disputed EEZ between Japan and the PRC.

View of East China Sea from Yeliou, Taiwan

Under the United Nations' Law of the Sea, the PRC claims the disputed ocean territory as its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) due to its being part of PRC's natural extension of its continental shelf, while Japan claims the disputed ocean territory as its own EEZ because it is within 200 nautical miles (370 km) from Japan's coast, and proposed a median line as the boundary between the EEZ of China and Japan. About 40,000 square kilometers of EEZ are in dispute. China and Japan both claim 200 nautical miles EEZ rights, but the East China Sea width is only 360 nautical miles. China claims an EEZ extending to the eastern end of the Chinese continental shelf (based on UNCLOS III) which goes deep into the Japanese's claimed EEZ.[2]

Japan has objected to PRC development of natural gas resources in the East China Sea in an area where the two countries Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims overlap. The specific development in dispute is the PRC's drilling in the Chunxiao gas field, which is located in undisputed areas on China's side, three or four miles (6 km) west of the median line proposed by Japan. Japan maintains that although the Chunxiao gas field rigs are on the PRC side of a median line that Tokyo regards as the two sides' sea boundary, they may tap into a field that stretches underground into the disputed area. Japan therefore seeks a share in the natural gas resources. The Chunxiao gas field in Xihu Sag in the East China Sea is estimated to hold reserves of more than 1.6 tcf of natural gas and is expected to become a major producer in the next ten years. Commercial operation was expected to begin in mid-2005 at a production rate of 70 bcf per year, rising to 282 bcf by 2010. Sinopec Star has reserves of 7 tcf of gas, 1.9 tcf of which is held in the Chunxiao area.[2] This new round of disputes has triggered both official and civilian protests and demonstrations in both countries.[3]

The dispute between PRC and South Korea concerns Socotra Rock, a submerged reef on which South Korea has constructed a scientific research station. While neither country claims the rock as territory, the PRC has objected to Korean activities there as a breach of its EEZ rights.

East China Sea in astronomy

Possibly, East China Sea (Donghai in Chinese) is represented with the star Eta Serpentis in asterism Left Wall, Heavenly Market enclosure (see Chinese constellation).[4]

See also


  • Note, Alexander M. Peterson "Sino-Japanese Cooperation in the East China Sea: A Lasting Arrangement?" 42 Cornell International Law Journal 441 (2009).

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • East China Sea — part of the Pacific Ocean east of China and west of Kyushu, Japan, and the Ryukyu Islands: 256,600 sq mi (664,591 sq km) …   English World dictionary

  • East China Sea — a part of the N Pacific, bounded by China, Japan, the Ryukyus, and Taiwan. 480,000 sq. mi. (1,243,200 sq. km). Also called Dong Hai. * * * ▪ sea, Pacific Ocean Introduction Chinese (Wade Giles)  Tung Hai  or  (Pinyin)  Dong Hai   arm of the… …   Universalium

  • East China Sea — NE part of the China Sea …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • East China Sea — East′ Chi′na Sea′ n. pin geg a part of the N Pacific, bounded by China, Japan, the Ryukyus, and Taiwan. 480,000 sq. mi. (1,243,200 sq. km) …   From formal English to slang

  • East China Sea — noun A marginal sea east of China, south of the Korean peninsula, the west of Japanese Ryukyu islands, and north of Taiwan …   Wiktionary

  • East China Sea — geographical name sea W Pacific between China (on W), South Korea (on N), Japan & Ryukyu Islands (on E), & Taiwan (on S) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • East China Sea — part of the Pacific ocean between China and southern Japan …   English contemporary dictionary

  • East China Sea — noun a part of the northern Pacific, bounded by China, Korea, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, and Taiwan …   Australian English dictionary

  • East China Sea — noun part of the Pacific Ocean near eastern Asia • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sea • Part Holonyms: ↑Pacific, ↑Pacific Ocean …   Useful english dictionary

  • Hotel East China Sea — (Остров Исигаки,Япония) Категория отеля: 3 звездочный отель Адрес: 907 0012 Оки …   Каталог отелей

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.