It's located south of China and surrounded by Southeast Asian countries. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) recognizes 12 nautical miles off the furthest shore as national territorial water, and the exclusive economic zone 200 nautical miles further away.
Countries of Southeast Asia surrounding this marginal sea west of the Pacific Ocean should have equal rights to administer their respective maritime territories and economic zones in accordance with UNCLOS. China has no right to claim the whole of SEAS as their own by merit of history and its namesake.
Its namesake "South China Sea" does not signify automatic China's ownership, otherwise Thailand could claim the whole of Gulf of Siam.
Likewise, India and Bangladesh can start a war for the Bay of Bengal. History belongs to the past and the present is today. The world today lives by international treaty, convention, and agreement. China must learn to abide by international rules.
The South China Sea, therefore, is an irrelevant name and a ghost of the past. This body of peaceful water of South East Asia, form today onwards, shall be called "THE SOUTH-EAST ASIAN SEA" (SEAS). China must relinquish all claims and withdraw from all the islands within SEAS.
ASEAN negotiation process should continue with full cooperation from China.
20 February 2017