James Shoal

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James Shoal
Disputed island
Other names: Zēngmǔ Ànshā (曾母暗沙)
Beting Serupai
James Shoal is located in South China Sea
James Shoal
James Shoal (South China Sea)
Location South China Sea
Coordinates 03°58′26″N 112°20′56″E / 3.97389°N 112.34889°E / 3.97389; 112.34889Coordinates: 03°58′26″N 112°20′56″E / 3.97389°N 112.34889°E / 3.97389; 112.34889
Claimed by
 People's Republic of China
Prefecture-level city

State Sarawak
 Republic of China (Taiwan)
Municipality Kaohsiung
James Shoal
Chinese name
Chinese 曾母暗沙
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 詹姆沙
Malay name
Malay Beting Serupai

James Shoal, also called Zengmu Reef (Chinese: 曾母暗沙; pinyin: Zēngmǔ Ànshā; literally: "Great-grandmother's Shoal") in Greater China and Beting Serupai in Malaysia, is a small bank in the South China Sea, with a depth of 22 metres (72 ft).[2] It is claimed by the People's Republic of China, Malaysia, and the Republic of China (Taiwan).


Lying about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Bintulu, on the Continental shelf of Borneo, the shoal is 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the Malaysian coast and about 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) from the Chinese mainland. Geographically it sits south of the Spratly Islands, but is sometimes grouped with them as part of international disputes over sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Territorial dispute[edit]

The shoal, also claimed by Malaysia, is the southernmost feature of China as claimed by the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. The People's Liberation Army Navy visited the shoal in May 1981, again in 1994, and in March 26, 2013.[3][4] On April 20, 2010, Marine Surveillance Ship-83 placed a sovereignty stele in the maritime area of the shoal to mark it as Chinese territory.

On 29 January 2014, four Chinese warships (one aircraft carrier and three destroyers) returned to James Shoal to conduct military drills and perform an oath swearing ceremony to protect China's sovereignty over the disputed territory.[5] The Malaysian Defence Ministry claimed that these drills took place in international waters away from the Malaysian EEZ hence no formal protest was made. [6]

Oil and gas reserves[edit]

As of 2014, active exploration and development of oil and gas fields by Malaysia is underway around the James Shoal with several production facilities erected in the surrounding area.[citation needed]

See also[edit]