Johnson South Reef

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L to R: Collins Reef, Johnson South Reef and Landsdowne Reef.
Union Banks en.svg

Johnson South Reef (Chinese: 赤瓜礁; pinyin: Chìguā Jiāo; Vietnamese: Đá Gạc Ma), also known as Chigua Reef, Yongshu reef, Gạc Ma Reef and Mabini reef[1] is a reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea controlled by the People's Republic of China (PRC), but whose ownership is disputed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

It is located in the southwest portion of Union Banks, next to Collins reef.

Location, topography and structures[edit]

Johnson South Reef lies near the Vietnamese-controlled Collins Reef which lies 4 miles (6.4 km) to the northwest. Naturally above water only at low tide, but many rocks are above water at high tide. It houses a number small buildings, wharves and a Chinese maritime observation station.[2]

Territorial disputes[edit]

Johnson South Reef is currently occupied by the Chinese and claimed by Vietnam. It was the site of the Johnson South Reef Skirmish in 1988, fought by the PRC and Vietnam which resulted in more than 70 Vietnamese deaths, two Vietnamese boats being sunk and the Chinese conquering the reef.

In order to prevent the island from submersion caused by erosion and maintain the claim to the EEZ, the PRC government built an embankment building, and Johnson South Reef were surrounded by the building in the early 1990s.[3]

In July 2012, to further reinforce their claim, a Chinese fleet of 29 fishing vessels from Hainan protected by Yuzheng 310 (a fishery administration patrol ship) spent 20 days fishing in the region.[4] In May 2014, the Philippines announced that one of its reconnaissance flights had discovered China dredging and reclaiming land at the reef.[5] China responded by saying this was a normal construction being done in their territory.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Malig, Jojo (17 July 2012). "Chinese fleet eyes bumper harvest". ABS CBN News. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "China fishing fleet arrives in Spratlys". Philippine Inquirer - Global nation. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  3. ^ 中国南沙群島赤瓜礁図片
  4. ^ "30-vessel China fishing fleet arrives at Nansha Islands". Xinhua English - Sina English News. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Mogato, Manuel, "Philippines says China appears to be building airstrip on disputed reef", Reuters, 13 May 2014
  6. ^ Moss, Trevor (14 May 2014). "Beijing Claims Building is Normal in ‘Chinese Territory’". Wall Street Journal. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 9°42′50″N 114°17′10″E / 9.71389°N 114.286°E / 9.71389; 114.286