The South China Sea
is a marginal sea of the Western Pacific Ocean. It is bounded in the north by the shores of South China, in the west by the Indochinese Peninsula, in the east by the islands of Taiwan and northwestern Philippines, and in the south by Borneo, eastern Sumatra and the Bangka Belitung Islands, encompassing an area of around 3,500,000 km2
(1,400,000 sq mi). It communicates with the East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait, the Phillipine Sea via the Luzon Strait, the Sulu Sea via the straits around Palawan, the Indian Ocean via the Strait of Malacca, and the Java Sea via the Karimata and Bangka Strait. The Gulf of Tonkin and Gulf of Thailand are both part of the South China Sea, and its shallow waters south of the Riau Islands is also known as the Natuna Sea.