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Marine Places

East China Sea

The East China Sea is a warm, shallow, productive shelf sea that lies between the Chinese mainland and the Ryukyu Islands. It is linked to the South China Sea through the Taiwan Strait, and to the Sea of Japan through the Korea Strait. In spring and summer the warm Tsushima Current flows north through the Korea Strait, but this is suppressed by northerly winds during winter. The region is also occasionally hit by typhoons (hurricanes) during the summer. The continental shelf beneath the South China Sea extends a long way from shore, partly due to sediments deposited by the Yangtze (Chang Jiang), Asia’s longest river. The Yangtze is navigable by ocean-going ships up to 1,000 miles (1,600 km) inland, and China’s main port, Shanghai, lies at its mouth. Fishing is an important source of income for the region, and the East China Sea is a shipping route between the South China Sea, Japan, and the north Pacific. There are also deposits of natural gas beneath the sea floor of the East China Sea, which China started developing in 2003.

East China Seazoom image
  • Area 290,000 square miles (751,000 square km)
  • Maximum Depth 8,912 ft (2,717 m)
  • Inflows South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Yangtze River