The East China Sea—part of the western Pacific Ocean—is China’s most important marine fishing area. The sea also has rich oil and gas reserves, but China’s exploitation of such reserves is complicated by a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute.
The East China Sea (Dong Hai) is part of the western Pacific Ocean. It is 1,296 kilometers long from north to south and 740 kilometers wide from east to west. It covers an area of 790,000 square kilometers. In the north it borders on the Yellow Sea (Huang Hai), and in the east it borders on Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces of the Chinese mainland. In the south the East China Sea is connected to the South China Sea (Nan Hai) through the Taiwan Strait. The southern Japanese archipelago with the Ryukyu Islands constitutes the eastern border.
Except for an area around the Ryukyu Islands, where depths of 2,700 meters have been measured, the East China Sea is on a shallow continental shelf, most of which is less than 200 meters deep. The Yangzi (Chang) River flows into the East China Sea, leaving huge deposits of sediment. The climate is subtropical, and monsoon winds with summer rain predominate.
The East China Sea is China’s most important marine fishing area, and the catches of hairtail, small and large yellow croaker, and cuttlefish account for two-thirds of China’s total catch. Shanghai, just south of the mouth of the Yangzi River, is the largest port on the sea and also is the center for food processing.
The sea has rich oil and gas reserves, but China’s exploitation of such reserves has been complicated by a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute—sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. China, Taiwan, and Japan claim the eight uninhabited islets. In recent years piracy also has become a problem in the East China Sea.
Source: Nielsen, Bent. (2009). East China Sea. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 665–665. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.
East China Sea (Dōng Hǎi 东海)|Dōng Hǎi 东海 (East China Sea)