Spratly Island

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For the island chain, see Spratly Islands.
Spratly Island
Disputed island
Truong Sa lon.JPG
Children playing on Spratly Island's beach
Geography
Spratly Island is located in South China Sea
Spratly Island
Position of Spratly Island
Location South China Sea
Coordinates 8°38′41″N 111°55′12″E / 8.64472°N 111.92000°E / 8.64472; 111.92000 (Spratly Island)Coordinates: 8°38′41″N 111°55′12″E / 8.64472°N 111.92000°E / 8.64472; 111.92000 (Spratly Island)
Archipelago Spratly Islands
Administered by
 Vietnam
Claimed by
 Republic of China (Taiwan)
 People's Republic of China
 Vietnam

Spratly Island (Vietnamese: đảo Trường Sa, Chinese: 南威島; pinyin: Nánwēi dǎo Tagalog: Lagos), is an island of the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea.

With an area of 15 hectares,[1] it is the fourth largest Spratly island and the largest among Vietnamese-occupied Spratly islands.

It is also claimed by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The island is also known as Lagos to Filipinos, but the Philippines does not lay any claim over Spratly Island which is outside the Filipino term Kalayaan Island Group defined by Ferdinand Marcos's Presidential Decree No. 1596.[2]

Location[edit]

Spratly island lies at the western extremity of Spratlys group of islands, between Ladd reef and West reef, to the north of Owen shoal.[3]

History in the 20th century[edit]

In April 1930, France sent the dispatch boat, or aviso, la Malicieuse to the archipelago and raised the flag of France on a high mound on Spratly Island, also known as île de la Tempête.[4] According to an official announcement by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France occupied Spratly Island on April 13, 1930.[5]

On 21 December 1933, Governor of Cochinchina Jean-Félix Krautheimer signed Decree No. 4702-CP merging Spratly Island, Amboyna Cay, Itu Aba Island, Northeast Cay, Southwest Cay, Loaita Island, Thitu Island and other dependent islands with Ba Ria province (present-day Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province).[6]

During the occupation of the island by the Imperial Japanese Navy at the time of the Pacific War, the island was known in Japanese as Nishitori jima (西鳥島?, lit. "Western bird island").

After World War II, Republic of China Navy sent vessel fleet to South China Sea to take over the occupation of islands from Japan. In 1947, Republic of China government announced the sovereignty of this island, and renamed Nanwei Island (Chinese: 南威島).[citation needed]

As of the early 1960s, Republic of Vietnam Navy had stopped off at the island several times. In 1963, three ships including HQ-404 Huong Giang, HQ-01 Chi Lang and HQ-09 Ki Hoa visited and systematically rebuilt steles on a number of islands in the archipelago. On May 19, 1963, they built one on Spratly Island.[7] However, the war in the mainland led to the absence of South Vietnamese troops on the island until 1974 when the Republic of Vietnam set up a permanent garrison here after losing the Crescent Group of the Paracel Islands to PRC. On April 29, 1975, the Vietnam People's Army evicted them and occupied the islet.

Administration[edit]

Under the South Vietnamese regime, Spratly Island was placed under the administration of Phước Tuy Province. In 2007, the Vietnamese government upgraded the island's status to a commune-level town which is in charge of administrating all nearby Vietnamese-controlled features such as Amboyna Cay and Barque Canada Reef.[8] On the island lies Trường Sa District's administrative center.

Geography[edit]

Spratly Island is shaped like an isosceles triangle. According to a document published by the Political Department of Vietnam's Navy Command, the island is 630 metres (2,070 ft) in length, up to 300 metres (980 ft) in width and has an area of 0.15 square kilometres (37 acres)[1] while several foreign documents often use a slightly smaller number of 0.13 square kilometres (32 acres).[9] It is 3.4 to 5 metres above sea level during low tide. The island has a variety of vegetation with a source of brackish water which can be utilized for bathing, washing and watering plants.[1] The fringing reefs that lie at all three corners are up to 200 metres (660 ft) wide and uncovered at low tide.[9]

With the typical meteorological characteristics of an archipelago, the Spratly Islands have a cool summer and a warm winter. The dry season, spanning from February to May, is characterized by a higher temperature from 4:30 AM to 19:00 PM. May to January is the time of the rainy season, when temperatures are lower during daytime, but thunderstorms more likely to occur.[1]

Ecology[edit]

The island's plants are mostly Barringtonia asiatica, Ipomoea pes-caprae, Heliotropium foertherianum, and some kinds of bush and grass which grow poorly due to the harsh climate.[1] Spratly Island is home to some birds and has guano deposits. Islanders try to cultivate banana, papaya, chili pepper and a variety of vegetables and herbs. There are also hundreds of dogs and lots of poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese.[10]

Facilities[edit]

The island has a helicopter pad, a 610-metre (2,000-foot) landing strip that can accommodate small fixed-wing propeller aircraft, and a small jetty with two piers. Energy sources come from solar panels and wind turbines. Built in 1977, the meteorological station on Spratly Island has the station index number of 48920 assigned by the World Meteorological Organization.[11] A clinic, a cultural house, a radio tower and a Buddhist pagoda also exist on the island. There is a 5.5 m-high obelisk at the southern tip. A primary school has been in operation since April 2013.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e (Vietnamese)Những điều cần biết về hai quần đảo Hoàng Sa, Trường Sa và khu vực thềm lục địa phía nam [What you need to know about Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands and southern continental shelf]. Political Department, Naval Command (Vietnam). 2011. 
  2. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 1596 (Philippines)". Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ Sta Ana, D.J. (25 May 2011). "Vietnam also has garrisons in PH zone of Spratlys". Interaksyon. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "White Paper on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands (1975) [part 1, split by uploading site]". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (South Vietnam). Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ (Vietnamese) Tran, Dang Dai (1975). "Các văn kiện chính thức xác nhận chủ quyền Việt Nam trên hai quần đảo Hoàng Sa và Trường Sa từ thời Pháp thuộc tới nay". Tập san Sử Địa [Journal of History and Geography] (Saigon: Văn Hữu Printing-house) 29. 
  6. ^ "Truong Sa archipelago belongs to Ba Ria province (1933)". Website on Viet Nam's sovereign boundaries. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  7. ^ "White Paper on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands (1975) [part 2, split by uploading site]". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Republic of Vietnam). Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  8. ^ (Vietnamese) "Nghị định số 65/2007/NĐ-CP ngày 11 tháng 04 năm 2007 (...)". Ministry of Justice's Portal (Vietnam). Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Hancox, David; Prescott, Victor (1995). A Geographical Description of the Spratly Islands and an Account of Hydrographic Surveys amongst Those Islands. Maritime Briefings 1. University of Durham, International Boundaries Research Unit. p. 14. ISBN 978-1897643181. 
  10. ^ (Vietnamese)Đỗ Sơn (June 7, 2011). "Nhật ký Trường Sa - Kì 2 [Truong Sa Diary - Part 2]". Tiền phong online. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Flatfile of data on Observing Stations". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  12. ^ Trần Công Thi (2013-04-21). "Khánh thành Trường Tiểu học Trường Sa". Báo Khánh Hoà. Retrieved 2013-04-23.