Spratly Islands dispute

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The Spratly Islands dispute is a territorial dispute over the ownership of the Spratly Islands, a group of islands located in the South China Sea. States staking claims to various islands are: Brunei, China (People's Republic of China), Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan (Republic of China), and Vietnam. All except Brunei occupy some of the islands.

The Spratly Islands are important for a number of reasons: the Spratly area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas, it is a productive area for world fishing and commercial shipping, and coastal countries would get an extended continental shelf. But only some states, such as China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC), and Vietnam have made claims based on historical sovereignty of the islands.[1] The Philippines, however, claims it as its territory under UNCLOS, an agreement which all competing countries have ratified.

Reasons for the dispute[edit]


There are multiple reasons why the neighboring nations would be interested in the Spratly Islands. In 1968, oil was discovered in the region. The Geology and Mineral Resources Ministry of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has estimated that the Spratly area holds oil and natural gas reserves of 17.7 billion tons (1.60 × 1010 kg), as compared to the 13 billion tons (1.17 × 1010 kg) held by Kuwait, placing it as the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. These large reserves assisted in intensifying the situation and propelled the territorial claims of the neighboring countries.

In 1968, the Philippines started to take their claims more seriously and stationed troops on three islands which had been claimed by the adventurer Tomas Cloma as part of Freedomland.[2] In 1973 Vietnamese troops were stationed on five islands.[3]

On 11 March 1976, the first major Philippine oil discovery occurred off the coast of Palawan, near the Spratly Islands territory. As of 2010, these oil fields accounted for fifteen percent of all petroleum consumed in the Philippines.[4] In 1992, the PRC and Vietnam granted oil exploration contracts to U.S. oil companies that covered overlapping areas in the Spratlys. In May 1992,[5] the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Crestone Energy (a U.S. company based in Denver, Colorado) signed a cooperation contract for the joint exploration of the Wan'an Bei-21 block, a 25,155 square kilometres (9,712 sq mi) section of the southwestern South China Sea that includes Spratly Island areas.[6] Part of the Crestone's contract covered Vietnam's blocks 133 and 134, where PetroVietnam, PetroStar Energy(USA) and ConocoPhillips Vietnam Exploration & Production, a unit of ConocoPhillips, agreed to evaluate prospects in April 1992. This led to a confrontation between China and Vietnam, with each demanding that the other cancel its contract.

Commercial fishing[edit]

An additional motive is the region's role as one of the world's most productive areas for commercial fishing. In 1988, for example, the South China Sea accounted for eight percent of the total world catch, a figure which rose to 35 percent in 2010.[7] The PRC has predicted that the South China Sea holds combined fishing and oil and gas resources worth one trillion dollars. There have already been numerous clashes between the PRC, the Philippines and other nations over "foreign" fishing vessels in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the media regularly report the arrest of Chinese fishermen. In 1984, Brunei established an exclusive fishing zone encompassing Louisa Reef in the southeastern Spratly Islands.[8]

Commercial shipping[edit]

The region is also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. During the 1980s, at least two hundred and seventy ships passed through the Spratly Islands region each day, and currently more than half of the world's supertanker traffic, by tonnage, passes through the region's waters every year. Tanker traffic through the South China Sea is over three times greater than through the Suez Canal and five times more than through the Panama Canal; twenty five percent of the world's crude oil passes through the South China Sea.

Confrontations and other incidents[edit]

There have been occasional naval clashes over the Spratly Islands. In 1988, China and Vietnam clashed at sea over possession of Johnson Reef in the Spratlys. Chinese gunboats sank Vietnamese transport ships supporting a landing party of Vietnamese soldiers. 64 Vietnamese soldiers were killed.[9]

On May 23, 2011, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III warned the Chinese defense minister of a possible arms race in the region if tensions worsened over disputes in the South China Sea. Aquino said he told visiting Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in their meeting that such an arms race could result if there were more encounters in the disputed and potentially oil-rich Spratly islands. The Philippines warned China that it might increase its military capabilities.[10] The Philippines has already filed a formal protest unter the International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea (ITLOS)

Extended continental shelf claims[edit]

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) procedure for countries with coastlines to submit claims for their continental shelf to be extended beyond 200 nautical miles of their shores brought the spotlight back to the South China Sea and Spratly Islands in May 2009.[11] Two such submissions were made - one by Vietnam for a claim over the northern portion of the sea which included the Paracel Islands, and another jointly by Vietnam and Malaysia for a joint claim over a "defined area" in the middle of the sea between the two countries which included part of the Spratly Islands. Brunei, a potential claimant, has not submitted such a claim but had provided preliminary information to the United Nations notifying it of its intention to claim a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from its shores.[12]

China immediately issued protests over the two submissions and called on the United Nations not to consider them. It also issued a stern warning to countries not to claim the islands which it said were its sovereign territory.[13]

Moves towards resolution[edit]

International Law[edit]

On 30 March, 2014, the Philippines will submit its memorial to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas (ITLOS).[14] Its case is solely a maritime dispute, and not territorial in nature.[15]

The Philippines seeks clarification from the tribunal as to whether China's 9-dashed lines can negate the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone as guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which China is a signatory . As part of the case, the Philippines also seeks clarification on whether certain rocks above water at high tide, such as Scarborough Shoal, generate a 200-nautical-mile (370 km; 230 mi) EEZ, or only a 12-nautical-mile (22 km; 14 mi) territorial sea. Furthermore, clarifications on whether China can appropriate low-tide elevations, such as the Mischief Reef and the Subi Reef, within the Philippines' EEZ have been included in the case.

"The Philippines is not asking the tribunal to delimit by nautical measurements overlapping EEZs between China and the Philippines. The Philippines is also not asking the tribunal what country has sovereignty over an island, or rock above water at high tide, in the West Philippine Sea."[16]

Coastal states, such as the Philippines, are entitled to a 200-nautical-mile (370 km; 230 mi) Exclusive Economic Zone. This is only subject to delimitation in case of overlapping EEZs with other coastal states. The EEZ is the area extending to 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) measured from the baselines of a coastal state. Under UNCLOS, EEZs are measured from the baselines. It must be drawn from the baselines of the coast of a continental land, such as mainland China, or island, such as Palawan in the Philippines, capable of human habitation of its own. It means that certain rocks, submerged during high tide, cannot be used as the basis to draw an EEZ. This basic requirement is taken from the universal international law principle that the "land dominates the sea". This implies that areas in the seas and oceans, can be claimed and measured only from land; a continental land or island "capable of human habitation of its own".[16]

Under UNCLOS, full sovereignty over its 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) territorial sea is given to coastal states. Beyond the territorial sea, the coastal state has only specific “sovereign rights” up to 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) from its baselines. All other states do not enjoy the application or the benefit of these "sovereign rights". The term “sovereign rights” refers to specific rights that do not amount to full “sovereignty.”

"A coastal state’s “sovereign rights” to its EEZ beyond the territorial sea refer principally to the exclusive right to exploit the living and non-living resources in the area, without other sovereign rights like the right to deny freedom of navigation and over-flight, which a coastal state can deny in its territorial sea."[16]

Diplomatic moves[edit]

Following a 1995 dispute between China and the Philippines, an ASEAN-brokered agreement was reached between the PRC and ASEAN member nations whereby one country would inform the other of any military movement within the disputed territory and that there would be no further construction. The agreement was promptly violated by China and Malaysia. Claiming storm damage, seven Chinese naval vessels entered the area to repair "fishing shelters" in Panganiban Reef. Malaysia erected a structure on Investigator Shoal and landed at Rizal Reef. In response the Philippines lodged formal protests, demanded the removal of the structures, increased naval patrols in Kalayaan and issued invitations to American politicians to inspect the PRC bases by plane. The Philippine senate also debated to send troops and navy forces to attempt the invasion in the islands.

In the early 21st century, the situation is improving. China recently held talks with ASEAN countries aimed at realizing a proposal for a free trade area between the ten countries involved. China and ASEAN have also been engaged in talks to create a code of conduct aimed at easing tensions in the disputed islands, but with no concrete steps on how to achieve it. In November 2002, a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was signed.[17] The parties explicitly undertook in this declaration, "to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned,".[17] The declaration eases tensions, but falls short of a legally binding code of conduct. In July 2012, China announced that it is open to launching discussions on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, but calls for all parties to exercise self-restraint in keeping with the spirit of previous declarations and United Nation conventions. This rhetoric has been criticized by many neighboring states because of the perceived contradictions seen in Scarborough Shoal in the same year 2012, wherein China established de facto control over it.[18]

Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea 2002[edit]

This declaration[19] was signed by the 10 foreign ministers of ASEAN countries and China on 4 November 2002 in Phnom Penh where the signatory countries pledged to resolve their sovereignty disputes in a peaceful manner, without resorting to the use of force and through direct negotiations among the countries concerned. The parties also undertook to exercise self-restraint with activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, including refraining from inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features.

In the interim, the parties pledged to carry out confidence building measures, such as by holding dialogues and exchange of views as appropriate between their defense and military officials; ensuring just and humane treatment of all persons who are in danger or distress; notifying on a voluntary basis other Parties concerned of any impending joint/combined military exercise; and exchanging, on a voluntary basis, relevant information.

The Parties may also explore or undertake cooperative activities such as marine environmental protection; marine scientific research; safety of navigation and communication at sea; search and rescue operation; and combating transnational crime, including but not limited to trafficking in illicit drugs, piracy and armed robbery at sea, and illegal traffic in arms.

United States reaction[edit]

On 2 August 2012, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring that China’s recent actions to unilaterally assert control of disputed territories in the South China Sea “are contrary to agreed upon principles with regard to resolving disputes and impede a peaceful resolution.”[20]

In a statement released on 3 August 2012, United States Department of State deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that the US has a "national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea." He added that the US does not take a position on competing territorial claims and that it urges all involved parties to clarify and pursue their territorial and maritime claims in accordance with international law. He further said the US is urging all parties to take steps to lower tensions in keeping with the 1992 ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.[21]

The United States has supported the Philippines and Vietnam by expanding military ties.[22]

Various claims[edit]

Map of various countries occupying the Spratly Islands


Brunei claims the part of the South China Seas nearest to it as part of its continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In 1984, Brunei declared an EEZ encompassing the above-water islets it claims in Louisa Reef.[8][23] Brunei does not practice military control in the area.

Basis of Brunei's claim[edit]

Brunei's claims to the reef are based on the Law of the Sea.[24] It states that the southern part of the Spratly Chain is actually a part of its continental shelf and therefore a part of its territory and resources.[25]


Malaysia has militarily occupied three islands that it considers to be within its continental shelf. Swallow Reef (Layang Layang) has been turned into an island through land reclamation and hosts a dive resort.

The Malaysian military currently occupies Ardasier Reef (Terumbu Ubi), Mariveles Reef (Terumbu Mantanani) and Swallow Reef (Terumbu Layang or Pulau Layang Layang).[23]

Basis of Malaysia's claim[edit]

Malaysia's claims are based upon the continental shelf principle, and have clearly defined coordinates. This argument still requires that the islands were res nullius, though.[23][26]

People's Republic of China and Republic of China (Taiwan)[edit]

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claim all of the Spratly Islands as part of China and had a historical naval presence. Recently, they have had a profound military impact on the area.

Map of the South China Sea Islands, by Ministry of the Interior, ROC, 1947.

The Republic of China (ROC), which ruled mainland China before 1949 and has been confined to Taiwan since 1949, also claims all of the Spratly Islands. Today, the People's Liberation Army and the Republic of China Armed Forces are both stationed in several islands, including the largest, Taiping Island - occupied by ROC.

From 1932 to 1935, the ROC continued to include the territory in its administrative area through the Map Compilation Committee. When France claimed nine islands of the territory in 1933, it immediately encountered a revolt from Chinese fishermen and a protest from the Republic of China government in Nanking. Although China continued to claim the islands, the Second Sino-Japanese war drew its attention for the meantime from 1937 onwards. After the second world war, China reclaimed sovereignty over the islands through post World War II arrangements based on various treaties of the Allied Powers[27] and China built a stone marker on the island.

In 1947, the ROC government renamed 159 islands in the area and published the Map of the South China Sea Islands. The ROC was the first government to establish a physical presence in the Spratly Islands. It has occupied Taiping Island, the largest island in the Spratlys, constantly since 1956.[28]

In 1958, North Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng sent a formal note to Zhou Enlai.

In 1958, the People's Republic of China, having taken over mainland China and having left the Republic of China with control over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and some outlying islands, issued a declaration of a 12 nautical mile limit territorial waters that encompassed the Spratly Islands. North Vietnam's prime minister, Phạm Văn Đồng, sent a formal note to PRC's Premier Zhou Enlai to recognize these claims; and stated that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) respects the decision on the 12 nautical mile limit territorial waters, although South Vietnam continued to claim sovereignty over the islands.

Basis for PRC's and ROC's claims[edit]

China claims to have discovered the islands in the Han Dynasty in 2 BC. The islands were claimed to have been marked on maps compiled during the time of Eastern Han Dynasty and Eastern Wu (one of the Three Kingdoms). Since the Yuan Dynasty in the 12th century, several islands that may be the Spratlys have been labeled as Chinese territory,[29] followed by the Ming Dynasty[30] and the Qing Dynasty from the 13th to 19th Century.[31] In 1755,[32][33] archaeological surveys the remains of Chinese pottery and coins have been found in the islands and are cited as proof for the PRC claim.[34]

The Philippines[edit]

The Philippines base their claims of sovereignty over the Spratlys on the issues of Res nullius and geography. The Philippines contend their claim was Res nullius as there was no effective sovereignty over the islands until the 1930s when France and then Japan acquired the islands. When Japan renounced their sovereignty over the islands according to the San Francisco Treaty, there was a relinquishment of the right to the islands without any special beneficiary. Therefore, argue the Philippines, the islands became Res nullius and available for annexation.

An 1801 map of the East Indies Isles which shows the placement of the Spratly islands. Most of the names have changed since then.

In 1956, a private Filipino citizen, Tomas Cloma, unilaterally declared a state on 53 features in the South China Sea, calling it "Freedomland". As the Republic of China moved to occupy the main island in response, Cloma sold his claim to the Philippine government, which annexed (de jure) the islands in 1978, calling them Kalayaan. On June 11, 1978, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines issued Presidential decree No. 1596, declaring the Spratly Islands (referred to therein as the Kalayaan Island Group) as Philippine territory.[35]

The Philippine claim to Kalayaan on a geographical basis can be summarized using the assertion that Kalayaan is distinct from other island groups in the South China Sea, because of the size of the biggest island in the Kalayaan group.[citation needed] A second argument used by the Philippines regarding their geographical claim over the Spratlys is that all the islands claimed by the Philippines lie within its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone according to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This argument still requires that the islands were res nullius, though.[36] The Philippines also argue, under maritime law that the People's Republic of China can not extend its baseline claims to the Spratlys because the PRC is not an archipelagic state.


Vietnam's response to China's claim is that Chinese records on Qianli Changsha and Wanli Shitang are in fact records about non-Chinese territories.[37] For example, Qianli Changsha and Wanli Shitang were referred to in the ancient Chinese texts Ling Wai Dai Da [38] and Zhu Fan Zhi [39] as being in the Sea of Jiaozhi, Jiaozhi being the old name for a Chinese province in modern-day northern Vietnam, or as writings on foreign countries.

Vietnam's view is that the Chinese records do not constitute the declaration and exercise of sovereignty and that China did not declare sovereignty over the Spratlys until after World War II.

On the other hand, Vietnam claims the Spratlys based on international law on declaring and exercising sovereignty.

Vietnam People's Navy Naval Infantry marching on Spratly island

Vietnamese claims that it has occupied the Spratley and the Paracel islands at least since the 17th century, when they were not under the sovereignty of any state, and that they exercised sovereignty over the two archipelagos continuously and peacefully until they were invaded by Chinese armed forces.[40] In Phủ biên tạp lục (撫邊雜錄, Miscellaneous Records of Pacification in the Border Area) by the scholar Lê Quý Đôn, Hoàng Sa (Paracel Islands), and Trường Sa (Spratly Islands) were defined as belonging to Quảng Ngãi District. In Đại Nam nhất thống toàn đồ (大南ー統全圖), an atlas of Vietnam completed in 1838, Trường Sa was shown as Vietnamese territory.[41] Vietnam had conducted many geographical and resource surveys of the islands.[41] The results of these surveys have been recorded in Vietnamese literature and history published since the 17th century. After the treaty signed with the Nguyễn Dynasty, France represented Vietnam in international affairs and exercised sovereignty over the islands.[41]

The Cairo Declaration, drafted by the Allies and China towards the end of World War II, listed the territories that the Allies intended to strip from Japan and return to China. Despite China being among the authors of the declaration, this list did not include the Spratlys.[42] Vietnam's response to China's claim that the Cairo Declaration somehow recognized the latter's sovereignty over the Spratlys is that this claim has no basis in fact.

At the San Francisco Conference on the peace treaty with Japan, the Soviet Union proposed that the Paracels and Spratlys be recognized as belonging to China. This proposal was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the delegates. On July 7, 1951, Tran Van Huu, head of the Bảo Đại Government's (State of Vietnam) delegation to the conference declared that the Paracels and Spratlys were part of Vietnamese territory. This declaration met with no challenge from the 51 representatives at the conference.[41]

The text of the Treaty of San Francisco listed the Spratlys as not part of the list of territories to be returned to China.[43]

After the French left, the government of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) exercised sovereignty over the islands, by placing border markers on the Spratlys to indicate South Vietnamese sovereignty over the archipelago. Up to the end of the Vietnam War the Republic of Vietnam Navy held military control over the majority of the Spratly Islands until 1975, when North Vietnamese troops attacked South Vietnamese troops and occupied the islands. After the Vietnam War, the unified Vietnam SRV (Socialist Republic of Vietnam) continued to claim the Spratly islands as an indisputably integral part of Vietnam, accordingly the Phan Van Dong DRV notice to the PRC in 1958 had not ceded the RVN and consequently the SRV claims, hence that Notice became of no effect on the RVN/SRV rights.

Vietnam currently occupies 31 islands. They are organized as a district of Khanh Hoa Province. At the 12th National Assembly Election held early in Trường Sa, the people and soldiers also voted for their local district government for the first time. For the first time, Trường Sa is organized like a normal inland district, with a township (Trường Sa) and two communes (Sinh Tồn and Song Tử Tây). Forty nine people were elected to the communes' people's councils.

In July 2012 the national assembly of Vietnam passed a law demarcating Vietnamese sea borders to include the Spratly and Paracel Islands.[44][45]

Tabular listing of features showing country possessions[edit]

Occupied features[edit]

A feature is occupied by a country if one of the following is true:

  • Soldiers and/or civilian citizens of a country are present in the feature, either by building structures over the feature to house the citizens (most features are of this type) or by manning a ship anchored over the feature (Philippine-occupied Irving Reef is of this type).
  • Regularly visited by soldiers of a country, not necessarily having soldiers present in it 24 hours. These features must lie near (within 9 miles (14 km)) a feature occupied by the country in the way of the first condition. Presence of structures is not necessary. This is the case of Philippine-occupied Flat Island and Lankiam Cay where soldiers stationed at Nanshan Island and Loaita Island respectively, regularly visit on a daily basis.[citation needed]

The effective visible distance of horizon from a 15 meter (typical large structure) height above sea-level is 9 miles (14 km). This makes features occupied by the second condition to be also labeled as "occupied" since they can be guarded far away. However not all features within the 9-mile (14 km) radius can be considered as absolutely occupied. This is especially true for features that lie between and within 9 miles (14 km) of two or more features occupied by different countries.[citation needed] (See Virtually Occupied or Controlled table)

Taiwan Republic of China (Taiwan)
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Taiping Island[23][46] Taiwan 太平島 Taiping Dao The largest of the Spratly islands. Located about 22 miles (35 km) south-southwest of Philippine-occupied Loaita (Kota) Island and about 6 miles (10 km) west of Vietnam-occupied Sand Cay. Covered with shrubs, coconut and mangroves. 600 soldiers stationed, lighthouse, radio and weather stations, concrete landing jetty and two wells at the SW end. Guano deposits, fringing reef. Hainan fishermen used to visit annually. In 8/93, plans were announced for a 2 km-long airstrip[47] and a fishing port. The now only 1150-meters-long airstrip was completed in January 2008.[48] Pineapple was once cultivated here. Occupied since September 1956, four months after Filipino Tomas Cloma claimed the islands. Part of Tizard Banks. 46
Philippines Ligaw[49]
Vietnam Đảo Ba Bình
Ban Than Reef[46] Taiwan 中洲礁 Zhongzhou Jiao Lies 3 miles (5 km) east of Itu-Aba Island and 3 miles (5 km) west of Vietnamese occupied Sand Cay. Small drying reef. Occupied since 1995. Part of Tizard Banks. 0
Vietnam Bãi Bàn Than
Total 1 island, 1 reef 46
China People's Republic of China
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Cuarteron Reef[23][46] China 华阳礁 Huayang Jiao Coral rocks only. Highest are 1.5 m high, on the north. Occupied by PRC since 1988. As of 2011, has permanent reef fortresses and supply platforms able to resist winds up to 71 knots and equipped with VHF / UHF communications equipment, search radars as well as naval guns and anti-aircraft guns, which can serve as docks for Chinese navy patrol boats.[50] Part of London Reefs. 0
Philippines Calderon
Vietnam Đá Châu Viên
Fiery Cross Reef / Northwest Investigator Reef[23][46] China 永暑礁 Yongshu Jiao Rocks up to 1 m high. All below at high tide, but has guano deposits. Occupied by PRC since 1988. "Marine observation station" built by PRC in 1988; PRC built a navy harbor by blasting, piling up and cementing coral; coconut, fir, and banyan trees planted. As of 2011, designated the PRC main command headquarters; equipped with satellite data transmission, surface and air search radars; armed with at least four high-powered naval guns and several gun emplacements.[50] Actually 3 reefs. 0
Philippines Kagitingan
Vietnam Đá Chữ Thập
Gaven Reefs[23][46] China 南薰礁 Nanxun Jiao (Northern reef) / Xinan or Duolu Jiao (Southern reef) A sand dune, 2 m high. Has fringing reef plus a reef 2 miles (3 km) to the south, both covered at high tide, all cement and a raised metal frame with two-story buildings placed on top. Southern reef was occupied by PRC on 7/4/92. Occupied since 1988. As of 2011, has permanent reef fortresses and supply platforms able to resist winds up to 71 knots and equipped with VHF / UHF communications equipment, search radars as well as naval guns and anti-aircraft guns, which can serve as docks for Chinese navy patrol boats.[50] Part of Tizard Banks. 0
Philippines Burgos
Vietnam Đá Ga Ven (N. reef) / Đá Lạc (S. reef)
Hughes Reef[23] China 东门礁 Dongmen Jiao Lies 9 miles (14 km) to the east of Sin Cowe Island. Naturally above water at least at low tide. Occupied since 1988. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Tư Nghĩa
Johnson South Reef[23][46] China 赤瓜礁 Chigua Jiao Contiguous with Vietnam-occupied Collins Reef which lies 4 miles (6 km) away northwest. Naturally above water only at low tide, but many rocks above water at high tide. Site of 1988 PRC/Vietnam clash. Occupied since 1988. As of 2011, has permanent reef fortresses and supply platforms able to resist winds up to 71 knots and equipped with VHF / UHF communications equipment, search radars as well as naval guns and anti-aircraft guns, which can serve as docks for Chinese navy patrol boats.[50] Part of Union Banks. 0
Philippines Mabini
Vietnam Đá Gạc Ma
Mischief Reef[23][46] China 美济礁 Meiji Jiao Some rocks above water at low tide. Has a lagoon. In February 1995, PRC had built a wooden complex on stilts here, starting its formal occupation of the feature. In 1999, the Philippines protested over this structures claiming that it is a military outpost and it poses danger to Philippine security and national defense, being 130 miles (209 km) from Palawan. PRC claims it is a shelter for fishermen. As of 2011, the "shelters" were equipped with satellite communications and radars and Panganiban Reef has four building complexes with 13 multi-storey buildings. Fifty Chinese Marines are permanently stationed there. PRC has undertaken several lagoon construction activities at Panganiban Reef, suitable for establishing pre-positioned bases in the South China Sea, enabling Beijing to project its influence and power in the disputed islands.[50] 0
Philippines Panganiban[49]
Vietnam Đá Vành Khăn
[[Subi (Zhubi) Reef]] [23][46] China 渚碧礁 Zhubi Dao Lies 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Philippine-occupied Thitu Island (Pagasa Island). Naturally above water only at low tide. Surrounds a lagoon. As of 2011, PRC has built a permanent reef fortress and supply platform that can house 160 troops. This garrison has a helipad and is armed with four twin barrel 37-millimeter naval guns. Houses a doppler weather radar.[50] 0
Philippines Zamora
Vietnam Đá Xu Bi
First Thomas Reef China 信义礁 Xinyi Jiao

Taiwan 信義暗沙 Xinyi Ansha

A few rocks are permanently above sea level. Much of the reef is above water at low tide. Encloses a lagoon. 0
Philippines Bulig[49]
Vietnam Bãi Suối Ngà
Whitson Reef[46] China 牛轭礁 Niu'e Jiao Some rocks naturally above water at high tide. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Ba Đầu
Total 9 reefs 0
Philippines Republic of the Philippines
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Flat Island[23][46] Philippines Patag[49] The fourteenth largest Spratly island. About 6 miles (10 km) southwest of Philippine-occupied Lawak Island (Nanshan Island). It changes its shape seasonally. The sand build up will depend largely on the direction of prevailing wind and waves. It takes the shape of an elongated one for some years now and a shape like that of a crescent moon for few years ago and it formed the shape of a letter "S" in the past. Like Panata Island (Lankiam Cay), it is also barren of any vegetation. No underground water source is found in the island. Presently, this island serves only as a military observation post for the Municipality of Kalayaan. A low, flat, sandy cay, 240 by 90 m, subject to erosion. Has a nearby reef which is above water at high tide. With large guano deposits. No vegetation. Several soldiers stationed. 0.57
China 费信岛

Taiwan 費信島
Feixin Dao

Vietnam Đảo Bình Nguyên
Lankiam Cay[23][46] Philippines Panata[49] The fifteenth largest and the smallest Spratly island. Located 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Philippine-occupied Kota Island (Lankiam Cay). A few years ago this island has a surface area of more than 5 hectares but strong waves brought by a strong typhoon washed out the sandy surface (beach) of the island leaving behind today the calcarenite foundation that can be seen at low tide. Several soldiers stationed. Part of Loaita Banks. 0.44
China 杨信沙洲

Taiwan 楊信沙洲
Yangxin Shazhou

Vietnam Bãi An Nhơn
Loaita Island[23][46] Philippines Kota[49] The tenth largest Spratly island. Located 22 miles (35 km) southeast of Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) and 22 miles (35 km) north-northeast of the ROC-occupied Taiping Island. It fringes the Laoita bank and reef. Its calcarenite outcrop is visible along its western side at low tide. The present shape of the island indicates sand buildup along its eastern side. The anchor-shaped side will eventually connect with the northern portion as the sand buildup continues thereby creating another mini-lagoon in the process. The presence of migrating sea birds adds to the high phosphorus contents of the sand found in the island. Occasionally, giant sea turtles are reported to be laying their eggs in the island. Covered with mangrove bushes, above which rose coconut palms and other small trees. Several soldiers stationed. Occupied since 1968. Part of Loaita Banks. 6.45
China 南钥岛

Taiwan 南鑰島
Nanyue Dao

Vietnam Đảo Loại Ta
Nanshan Island[23][46] Philippines Lawak[49] The eighth largest Spratly island. Located 98.0 miles (157.7 km) east of Pag-asa (Thitu Island). This island is a bird sanctuary. Its surroundings are highly phosphatized that superphosphate materials can be mined out on a small-scale basis. Near the fringes of the breakwaters (approx. 2 miles (3 km) from the island), intact hard coral reefs were observed to retain their natural environment and beautiful tropical fishes were seen colonizing these coral beds of varying colors. Covered with coconut trees, bushes and grass. 580 m long, on the edge of a submerged reef. Several soldiers stationed. Has a small airstrip. 7.93
China 马欢岛

Taiwan 馬歡島
Mahuan Dao

Vietnam Đảo Vĩnh Viễn
Northeast Cay[23][46] Philippines Parola[49] The fifth largest Spratly island. Only 1.75 miles (2.82 km) north of Vietnamese-occupied Southwest Cay and can be seen before the horizon. Located 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Philippine-occupied Pag-asa (Thitu Island). Some of its outcrops are visible on its western side. It has high salinity groundwater and vegetation limited to beach type of plants. The corals around the island were mostly destroyed by rampant use of dynamite fishing and cyanide method employed by foreign fishing boats in the past. Covered with grass and thick trees. Much of the ringing reef is above water at high tide. Supported a beacon in 1984. Has Guano deposits. Several soldiers stationed. Satellite photography suggests it may have an airstrip.[51] Occupied since 1968. Part of North Danger Reef. 12.7
China 北子岛 Beizi Dao

Taiwan 北子礁 Beizi Jiao

Vietnam Đảo Song Tử Đông
Thitu Island[23][46] Philippines Pag-asa[49] The second largest Spratly island. Serves as the poblacion for the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan, Phils. It is covered with trees and has a variety of fauna. It is home to some 300+ civilians (including children) and over 50 soldiers. Other islands are expected to be populated before 2010. Population is regulated to protect the islands' flora and fauna and to avoid tension with other countries. It has 1.4 km airstrip, a marina, water filtering plant, power generator and a commercial communications tower (by Smart Communications), school, and television channel. The Philippines' Department of Tourism is making improvements to the island to make it profitable. Occupied since 1968. Part of Thitu Reefs. 37.2
China 中业岛

Taiwan 中業島
Zhongye Dao

Vietnam Đảo Thị Tứ
West York Island[23][46] Philippines Likas[49] The third largest Spratly island. This island is located 47 miles (76 km) northeast of Pag-asa (Thitu Island). Outcrops are visible on the southern and eastern portion of the island during low tides. This island is considered a sanctuary for giant sea turtles that lay their eggs on the island all year round. The high salinity of the ground water in the island retards the growth of introduced trees like coconuts, ipil-ipil, and other types. Only those endemic to the area that are mostly beach type of plants thrive and survive the hot and humid condition especially during the dry season. Has an observation post. Several soldiers stationed. 18.6
China 西月岛

Taiwan 西月島
Xiyue Dao

Vietnam Đảo Bến Lạc, Đảo Dừa
Commodore Reef[23][46] Philippines Rizal[49] A sand "cay", 0.5 m high, surrounded by two lagoons. Parts of reef above water at high tide. It is a typical reef lying underwater and is now being manned by a military contingent based and established in the area. Some structures. Several soldiers stationed. Occupied since 1978. 0
China 司令礁

Taiwan 司令礁
Siling Jiao

Vietnam Đá Công Đo
Malaysia Terumbu Laksamana
Irving Reef[46] Philippines Balagtas Naturally above water only at low tide. A very small cay lies at northern end. Some structures. Several soldiers stationed. 0
China 火艾礁

Taiwan 火艾礁
Huo'ai Jiao

Vietnam Đá Cá Nhám
Second Thomas Reef[52] Philippines Ayungin[49] A shallow reef. It is close to Chinese-occupied Mischief Reef. It was occupied by the Philippines in 1999, after the 1995 controversial Chinese occupation of Mischief Reef, to put pressure on China not to occupy any features further which lie near the Philippines. 0
China 仁爱礁 Ren'ai Jiao

Taiwan 仁愛暗沙 Ren'ai Ansha

Vietnam Bãi Cỏ Mây
Total 7 islands, 3 reefs 83.89
Vietnam Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Amboyna Cay[23][46] Philippines Datu Kalantiaw[49] The thirteenth largest Spratly island. Two parts: East part consists of sand and coral, west part is covered with guano. Has fringing reef. An obelisk, about 2.7 m high, stands on the SW corner. Little vegetation. Lighthouse operational since May 1995. Heavily fortified. 1.6
China 安波沙洲 Anbo Shazhou
Vietnam Đảo An Bang
Malaysia Pulau Amboyna Kecil
Namyit Island[23][46] Philippines Binago[49] The twelfth largest Spratly island. Covered with small trees, bushes and grass. Has a fringing reef and is inhabited by sea birds. The island is inhabited by an unknown number of Vietnamese soldiers and in the deep waters fronting the south side it is said that a submarine base is situated.[citation needed] Occupied since 1975.Part of Tizard Banks. 5.3
China 鸿庥岛 Hongxiu Dao
Vietnam Đảo Nam Yết
Sand Cay[23][46] Philippines Bailan The ninth largest Spratly island. Lies 6 miles (10 km) to the east of Taiwan-occupied Taiping Island. Covered with trees and bushes. Fringing reef partly above water at low tide. This feature is commonly confused with Sandy Cay. Occupied since 1974. Part of Tizard Banks. 7
China 敦谦沙洲 Dunqian Shazhou
Vietnam Đảo Sơn Ca
Sin Cowe Island[23][46] Philippines Rurok[49] The seventh largest. Has fringing reef which is above water at low tide. Occupied since 1974. Part of Union Banks. 8
China 景宏岛 Jinghong Dao
Vietnam Đảo Sinh Tồn
Southwest Cay[23][46] Philippines Pugad The sixth largest Spratly island. Only 1.75 miles (2.82 km) from Northeast Cay and can be seen before the horizon. Previously a breeding place for birds and covered with trees and guano. Export of guano was once carried out "on a considerable scale." Fringing reef partly above water at high tide. Vietnam erected its first lighthouse in the Spratlys here in October 1993 and built an airstrip. Has a three-story building, garrisoned by soldiers. Philippine military controlled the island before early 1970s. South Vietnamese forces (Republic of Vietnam) invaded the island in 1975, when Filipino soldiers guarding the island attended the birthday party of their commanding officer based in the nearby Northeast Cay. A confirmed report came out that Vietnamese prostitutes were sent by Vietnamese officials to the birthday party, supposedly a sign of good brotherhood between the forces, but was actually used to lure the Filipino soldiers guarding the island. Filipino forces apparently planned on attacking the island, thus it would have led to a war, but Vietnamese forces were able to erect a huge garrison in the island within few weeks, forcing Filipino officials to abort the plan. Since then, more soldiers were assigned to Parola Island (North East Cay), to avoid it from happening again. This was confirmed by interviews with soldiers involved in an episode of the defunct ABS-CBN's Magandang Gabi Bayan (Good Evening Nation) program. See Policies, activities and history of the Philippines in Spratly Islands#Southwest Cay invasion for more details. Part of North Danger Reef. 12
China 南子岛 Nanzi Dao

Taiwan 南子礁 Nanzi Jiao

Vietnam Đảo Song Tử Tây
Spratly Island (proper) / Storm Island[23][46] Philippines Lagos The fourth largest Spratly island. 2.5 m high, flat. Covered with bushes, grass, birds and guano. 5.5 m-high obelisk at southern tip. Has landing strip, and a fishing port. Fringing reef is above water at low tide. Some structures with soldiers stationed. Occupied since 1974. 13
China 南威岛 Nanwei Dao
Vietnam Đảo Trường Sa
Alison Reef[23][46] Philippines De Jesus[49] Naturally above water only at low tide. Encloses a lagoon. 0
China 六门礁 Liumen Jiao
Vietnam Đá Tốc Tan
Barque Canada Reef / Lizzie Weber Reef[23][46] Philippines (Barque Canada Reef) Magsaysay Coral. Highest rocks are 4.5 m high, at SW end. Much of reef is above water at high tide. Some sandy patches. 18 miles (29 km) long. Its military structures were recently upgraded. Occupied since 1987. 0
Philippines (Lizzie Weber Reef) Mascarado
China 柏礁 Bai Jiao
Vietnam Bãi Thuyền Chài
Malaysia Terumbu Perahu
Central London Reef[23][46] Philippines Gitnang Quezon[49] SW part is a sandbank which barely submerges at high tide. The rest is coral reef, awash, surrounding a lagoon. Occupied since 1978. Part of London Reefs. 0
China 中礁 Zhong Jiao
Vietnam Đảo Trường Sa Đông
Collins Reef / Johnson North Reef[46] Philippines Roxas Lies 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Vietnam-occupied Sin Cowe Island. Connected to Johnson South Reef. A "coral dune" is located at the southeast corner, above the high tide line. Part of Union Banks. 0
China 鬼喊礁 Guihan Jiao
Vietnam Đá Cô Lin
Cornwallis South Reef[23][46] Philippines Osmeña Naturally above water only at low tide. Encloses a lagoon. Occupied since 1988. 0
China 南华礁 Nanhua Jiao
Vietnam Đá Núi Le
Great Discovery Reef[23][46] Philippines Paredes Several rocks are above water at high tide. Most of reef is above water at low tide. Has lagoon. Occupied since 1988. 0
China 大现礁 Daxian Dao
Vietnam Đá Lớn
East London Reef[23][46] Philippines Silangang Quezon[49] Rocks up to 1 m high. Encloses a lagoon. Occupied since 1988. Part of London Reefs. 0
China 东礁 Dong Jiao
Vietnam Đá Đông
Grierson Reef[46] Philippines Julian Felipe A sand cay with fringing reef. Some references tell that there exist a Sin Cowe East Island. This island may be Grierson Reef. It was probably called Sin Cowe East Island because it is located to the east of Sin Cowe Island and that its sand bar is visible during low tides, making it an island. Due to convention that an island must always be visible even at highest tides, Grierson Reef is not considered as an island in this list. Its sand bar area is about 12 hectares. Part of Union Banks. 0
China 染青沙洲 Ranqing Shazhou
Vietnam Đảo Sinh Tồn Đông
Higgens Reef[23] China 屈原礁 Quyuan Jiao Lies 6 miles (10 km) southeast of Vietnam-occupied Sin Cowe Island. Only above water at low tide. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Phúc Sĩ
Ladd Reef[23] China 日积礁 Riji Jiao Naturally above water at low tide. Has coral lagoon. Occupied since 1988. 0
Vietnam Đá Lát
Lan(d)sdowne Reef[23][46] Philippines Pagkakaisa Sand dune, with fringing reef. Part of Union Banks. 0
China 琼礁 Qiong Jiao
Vietnam Đá Len Đao
Pearson Reef[23][46] Philippines Hizon[49] Two sand "cays", 2 m and 1 m high, lie on the edges of a lagoon. Parts of the surrounding reef are above water at high tide. Occupied since 1988. 0
China 毕生礁 Bisheng Jiao
Vietnam Đảo Phan Vinh
Petley Reef[23][46] Philippines Juan Luna Naturally above water only at low tide, some small rocks might stand above high water. Occupied since 1988. Part of Tizard Banks. 0
China 舶兰礁 Bolan Jiao
Vietnam Đá Núi Thị
Pigeon Reef / Tennent Reef[23][46] Philippines Lopez-Jaena Numerous rocks are naturally above the high tide line. Encloses a lagoon. Occupied since 1988. 0
China 无乜礁 Wumie Jiao
Vietnam Đá Tiên Nữ
South Reef[23][46] Philippines Timog Lies about 2.5 miles (4 km) southwest of Vietnam-occupied Southwest Cay. A tiny cay appears atop this reef on the most detailed map available. On the southwest end of North Danger Reef. Fringing reef is above water at low tide. Occupied since 1988. Part of North Danger Reef. 0
China 奈罗礁 Nailuo Jiao
Vietnam Đá Nam
West London Reef[23][46] Philippines Kanlurang Quezon[49] East part is sand "cay", 0.6 m high. West part is coral reef which is above water only at low tide. Between them is a lagoon. Vietnam erected a lighthouse here in May or June 1994. Part of London Reefs. 0
China 西礁 Xi Jiao
Vietnam Đá Tây
Rifleman Bank (containing Bombay Castle)[46] China 南薇滩 Nanwei Tan Shallowest natural depth is 3 m, called Bombay Castle. Sand and coral. Occupied since 1989. 0
Vietnam Bãi Vũng Mây
Prince of Wales Bank China 广雅滩 Guangya Tan Shallowest natural depth is 7 m. Has corals. Occupied since 1989. 0
Vietnam Bãi Phúc Tần
Grainger Bank[46] China 李准滩 Lizhun Tan Shallowest natural depth is either 9 m or 11 m. Occupied since 1991. 0
Vietnam Bãi Quế Đường
Alexandra Bank China 人骏滩 Renjun Tan Shallowest natural depth is 5 m. Occupied since 1991. 0
Vietnam Bãi Huyền Trân
Prince Consort Bank[46] China 西卫滩 Xiwei Tan Shallowest natural depth is 9 m. Occupied since 1990. 0
Vietnam Bãi Phúc Nguyên
Vanguard Bank[46] China 万安滩 Wan'an Tan Shallowest natural depth is 16 m. Vietnam has run three "economic technological service stations" in this area since July 1994. Occupied since 1989. 0
Vietnam Bãi Tư Chính
Total 6 islands, 16 reefs, 6 banks 46.9
Malaysia Malaysia
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Swallow Reef/ Island[23][46] Philippines Celerio The eleventh largest Spratly island. Treeless cay and rocks up to 3 m high surround a lagoon. Malaysia has drawn territorial seas around this and Amboyna Cay. Some 70 plus soldiers stationed here maintain a beacon. Has a fishing port and a 15-room diving resort, including a 1.5 km airstrip. Present land mass is reclaimed, making it the first artificial island in Spratly. Occupied since 1983. 6.2
Vietnam Đá Hoa Lau
China 弹丸礁 Danwan Jiao
Malaysia Terumbu Layang Layang
Ardasier Reef[23][46] Philippines Antonio Luna[49] Naturally above water only at low tide. Encloses a lagoon. Has a few sandy patches. Several soldiers stationed. Occupied since 1986. 0
China 光星仔礁 Guangxingzai Jiao
Vietnam Bãi Kiêu Ngựa
Malaysia Terumbu Ubi
Dallas Reef[46] Philippines Rajah Matanda Naturally above water only at low tide. Encloses a lagoon. Several soldiers stationed. Malaysia is also using this reef for tourism. 0
China 光星礁 Guangxing Jiao
Vietnam Đá Suối Cát
Malaysia Terumbu Laya
Erica Reef / Enloa Reef[53] Philippines Gabriela Silang[49] Above water only at low tide. Some isolated rocks on the eastern edge stand above high water. 0
China 簸箕礁 Boji Jiao
Vietnam Đá Én Ca
Malaysia Terumbu Siput
Investigator Shoal[53] Philippines Pawikan[49] Above water only at low tide. Some large rocks at the western end are visible at high water. Encloses a lagoon. 0
China 榆亚暗沙 Yuya Ansha
Vietnam Bãi Thám Hiểm
Malaysia Terumbu Peninjau
Louisa Reef[46] China 南通礁 Nantong Jiao Rocks 1 m high. Malaysia operates a lighthouse here. 0
Malaysia Terumbu Semarang / Barat Kecil
Mariveles Reef[23][46] Philippines Mariveles A sand cay, 1.5–2 m high, surrounded by two lagoons, parts of which are above water at high tide. Several soldiers stationed. Occupied since 1986. 0
China 南海礁 Nanhai Jiao
Vietnam Đá Kỳ Vân
Malaysia Terumbu Mantanani
Total 1 artificial island, 5 reefs, 1 shoal 6.2

Virtually occupied or controlled[edit]

An unoccupied feature that lies within 9 miles (14 km) radius of an occupied feature, provided that it does not lie between the occupied feature and another occupied feature controlled by a different country and is not within 9 miles (14 km) of the feature occupied by the other country, can be considered as virtually occupied. 9 miles (14 km) is the effective horizon distance that can be seen from a 15 meter high structure. The nearer the feature, the better.

While virtually occupied features are not actual occupied features (e.g., no structures built and no soldiers are stationed or regularly visits), they are on the other hand largely controlled. If a naval vessel of another country was seen within the effective horizon of a feature and in an inconvenient direction, it can be taken as a military assault. Thus, the forces occupying the feature may attack the vessel. Claimant countries currently cannot upgrade the status of these virtually occupied features to absolutely occupied because other countries may view this as an expansion motive which clearly violates the Code of Conduct signed in 2002. Also, making the virtually occupied to absolutely occupied requires building of structures which will serve as barracks of new soldiers who will guard it. Building of structures in unoccupied (including virtually occupied) features is prohibited by the Code of Conduct.

Note that most virtually occupied features are by the Philippines. Vietnam in the past, prior to signing of the Code of Conduct, have acquired many features as much as it can. As of now, it has a total of 26 occupied features. Whenever it occupied a feature in the past, it immediately occupies features which are near to it. Example of this is South Reef which Vietnam immediately occupied after it successfully invaded Southwest Cay. Thus, no feature has been virtually controlled by Vietnam since it always occupy features which it can see within its horizon. Also, Vietnam's occupied features in Tizard and Union Banks are near other countries' occupied features. Hence, many unoccupied features near to Vietnam's occupied features in these banks also lie near other countries' occupied features. As for Malaysia, it only occupied reefs at the southern tip of the Spratly chain where features are dispersed. No other features can be found within the horizon of Malaysian-occupied features.

Virtually Occupied and Controlled
Philippines Virtually Occupied by the Philippines
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Loaita Cay Philippines Melchora Aquino Lies 1.5 miles (2 km) south-northeast of Philippine-occupied Loaita Island. Actually, it is between two Philippine-occupied islands, the other being Lankiam Cay, but is nearer to Loita Island. A sand cay, with fringing reef naturally above water at high tide. This feature is commonly confused with Lankiam Cay. Not to be confused with Loaita Island. Part of Loiata Banks. ??
China 南钥沙洲 Nanyao Shazhou
Loaita Nan / Loaita Southwest Reef Philippines Magbanua Lies 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Philippine-occupied Loaita Island. Nearest feature occupied by other country is Subi Reef, occupied by China, lies 30 miles (48 km) northwest. Never above water. Part of Loaita Banks. 0
China 双黄沙洲 Shuanghuang Shazhou
Vietnam Bãi Loại Ta Nam
North Reef Philippines Hilaga Lies 1.5 miles (2 km) northest of Philippine-occupied Northest Cay (Parola Island). Nearest feature occupied by other country is Southwest Cay, occupied by Vietnam, lies 3.5 miles (6 km) southwest. Because it is Northeast Cay which lies between Southwest Cay and North Reef, North Reef became virtually occupied by the Philippines. At NE end of North Danger Reef. Naturally above water only at low tide. The Philippines once considered building a long airstrip over this feature to ease transportation to Northeast Cay. Northeast Cay is only 12.7 hectares and it doesn't have a large coral base. This is unlike Pagasa Island (Thitu Island) were a long airstrip had been constructed adjacent to the island by reclaiming portions of Pagasa's large coral base. Hence, the Philippines cannot build a long airstrip in Northeast Cay, forcing them to consider building it in North Reef. However, though virtually occupied, they cannot build such airstrip in North Reef because the Code of Conduct prohibits it. Part of North Danger Reef. 0
China 贡士礁 Gongshi Jiao
Vietnam Đá Bắc
Sandy Cay / Extension Reef China 铁线礁 Tiexian Jiao Lies 5 miles (8 km) west of Philippine-occupied Thitu Island. Nearest feature occupied by other country is Subi Reef, occupied by China, lies 13 miles (21 km) southwest. A low sand cay; fringing reef above water at high tide. ??
China Virtually Occupied by China
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
McKennan Reef China 西门礁 Ximen Jiao (McKennan) Lies just 1 mile (2 km) west of PRC-occupied Hughes Reef. Nearest features occupied by other country is Vietnam-occupied Sin Cowe Island and Higgens Reef, both lies about 9 miles (14 km) west and southwest respectively. Because China is very near compared to Vietnam, McKennan Reef became virtually occupied by China. It actually causes many references to be confused on which feature between Hughes and McKennan is actually occupied by China. Naturally above water at least at low tide. 0
Vietnam Đá Ken Nan
Edmund Reef China 南门礁 Nanmen Jiao Lies 4 miles (6 km) east of Vietnam-occupied Sin Cowe Island and 4 miles (6 km) west of McKennan Reef. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Bình Khê
Hallet Reef China 安乐礁 Anle Jiao Lies 1 mile (2 km) to the northeast of Hughes Reef. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Bình Sơn
Holiday Reef China 长线礁 Changxian Jiao Above water only at low tide. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Bãi Khung
Empire Reef China 主权礁 Zhuquan Jiao Above water only at low tide. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Đức Hòa
Eldad Reef China 安达礁 Anda Jiao Only a few large rocks are naturally above water at high tide. Part of Tizard Banks. 0
Philippines Malvar
Malaysia Beting Burgai
Vietnam Đá Én Đất

Unoccupied features[edit]

Philippines Unoccupied but Largely Controlled by the Philippines
The reefs, shoals, etc. to the east of the 116°E meridian are closely guarded by the Philippine Navy and Air Force. Though not occupied, the Philippines undeniably has control over these features which are less 100 miles (160 km) from the Palawan west coast (note: Scarborough Shoal is 100 miles (160 km) from Zambales west coast). There are many Filipino fishermen in this region, who cooperate closely with the Philippine Navy. Non-Filipino fishermen are tolerated in this region, provided that they comply with Philippine laws. The press in the Philippines have reported many arrests of Chinese fishermen by the Philippine Navy because of illegal fishing methods and catching of endangered sea species, both in this region and in the Sulu Sea. Philippine military presence in this region intensified after the 1995 Mischief Reef incident. The Philippine Air Force has been active in striking even the markers set up by other countries to guide the latter's naval forces in this region.
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Amy Douglas Bank or Reef Philippines Mahiwagang Diwata Lies north of Palawan Passage. Awash at low tide. 0
China 安塘滩 Antang Tan,
安塘礁 Antang Jiao
Bombay Shoal Philippines Abad Santos[49] Several rocks are exposed at low tide. Surrounds a lagoon. 0
China 蓬勃暗沙 Pengbo Ansha
Boxall Reef Philippines Rajah Sulayman Above water only at low tide. 0
China 牛车轮礁 Niuchelun Jiao
Carnadic Shoal China 红石暗沙 Hongshi Ansha 0
Director Shoal/Reef Philippines Tamban 0
China 指向礁 Zhixiang Jiao
Ganges Reef Philippines Palma 0
China 恒礁 Heng Jiao
Glasgow Bank Philippines Aguinaldo Some sources say[citation needed] this area is occupied by the Philippines due to its proximity to the Commodore Reef. 0
China 双礁 Shuang Jiao
Half Moon Shoal Philippines Hasa-hasa[49] Several rocks on the eastern side rise one to two feet above high tide. Encloses a lagoon. 0
China 半月礁 Banyue Jiao
Vietnam Bãi Trăng Khuyết
Hardy Reef Philippines Sakay Naturally above water only at low tide. Surrounds a narrow strip of sand. 0
China 半路礁 Banlu Jiao
Hopkins Reef China 火星礁 Huoxing Jiao 0
Investigator Northeast Shoal Philippines Dalagang Bukid Lies only a few miles west of Palawan. Naturally above water at low tide. 0
China 海口礁 Haikou Jiao
Iroquois Reef Philippines Del Pilar Lies east of both Philippine-occupied Nanshan Island and Flat Island. Above water only at low tide. 0
China 鲎藤礁 Houteng Jiao
Leslie Bank Philippines Urduja 0
China 勇士滩 Yongshi Tan
Lord Auckland Shoal Philippines Lapu-Lapu 0
China 莪兰暗沙 Elan Ansha
Lys Shoal Philippines Bisugo 0
China 乐斯暗沙 Lesi Ansha
North East Shoal Philippines Ponce Lies only a few miles north of Commodore Reef. Above water only at low tide. 0
China 校尉暗沙 Xiaowei Ansha
Pennsylvania North Reef China 阳明礁 Yangming Jiao 0
Pennsylvania South Reef China 孔明礁 Kongming Jiao 0
Reed Tablemount (including Nares Bank and Marie Louise Bank) Philippines Recto[49] Shallowest natural depth is 9 m. About 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2) in area. The Philippines occupied this feature in 1971 and a Philippine-Sweden joint oil-exploration followed afterwards.[46] However, China protested this act of the Philippines saying that this tablemount which center lies 100 miles (160 km) from the Philippines is part of China's territories. After that, the Philippines tried asking China for a joint effort but China declined, arguing that the Philippines has no right in this feature. Presently, this feature is largely controlled by the Philippines. 0
China 礼乐滩 Liyue Tan
Vietnam Bãi Cỏ Rong
Royal Captain Shoal Philippines Kanduli[49] A few rocks are above water at low tide. Surrounds a lagoon. 0
China 舰长礁 Jianzhang Jiao
Sabina Shoal Philippines Escoda It encloses two lagoons, naturally above water at low tide. Lies east of the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Reef. 0
China 仙宾礁 Xianbin Jiao
Sandy Shoal Philippines Mabuhangin 0
China 神仙暗沙 Shenxian Ansha
Seahorse Shoal or Seashore Shoal Philippines Baybayin Dagat Lies north of Palawan Passage 0
China 海马滩 Haima Tan
Stag Shoal Philippines Panday Pira 0
China 隐遁暗沙 Yindun Ansha
Southern Bank/Reef Philippines Katimugan A group of features located south of Reed Tablemount. The reef includes: Magat Salamat, Tagpi, Hubo Reef, and Katimugan Banks/Reef. The area is largely controlled and used for fishing by the Philippines due to its proximity to Flat Island and Nanshan Island. 0
China 南方浅滩 Nanfang Qiantan
Templar Bank Philippines Dalag[49] 0
China 忠孝滩 Zhongxiao Tan
Trident Shoal Philippines Tatlong-tulis 0
China 永登暗沙 Yongdeng Ansha
Viper North Shoal Philippines Maya-maya 0
China 都护暗沙 Duhu Ansha
Viper Shoal Philippines Tomas Claudio 0
China 保卫暗沙 Baowei Ansha
Malaysia Unoccupied but Largely Controlled by Malaysia
Malaysia claims a portion of the South China Sea together with 11 islands and other marine features in the Spratly group on the basis that they are within its continental shelf. These shoals lie off the North-Western coast of Sarawak over an area of 100 km in the South China Sea, as such, they are largely controlled by Malaysia.
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
North Luconia Shoals China 北康暗沙 Beikang Ansha submerged 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi)[54]
Malaysia Gugusan Beting Raja Jarum
South Luconia Shoals China 南康暗沙 Nankang Ansha submerged 900 square kilometres (350 sq mi)[54]
Malaysia Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali
James Shoal[55] China 曾母暗沙 Zengmu Ansha Shallowest natural depth is 17.5 m. 0
Malaysia Beting Serupai
Not Occupied by any Country
These are the unoccupied features. Some sources say that some of these features are occupied by Vietnam or China but most sources, including the latest, say that they are not occupied. Occupation are probably confused because the said reefs are very close to occupied features. There are many unoccupied features in the Spratly chain. The current Code of Conduct prohibits any country from acquiring new features. Many of these features are actually in between and near two or more occupied features of different countries. Thus, they serve like buffer zones. Example of this is Jones Reef which lies almost exactly between PRC-occupied Hughes Reef and Vietnamese-occupied Higgens Reef.[citation needed]
Int'l Name Local Names Description Area (ha.)
Alicia Annie Reef Philippines Arellano[49] A sand "cay", 1.2 m high. Many rocks above high tide line. 0
China 仙娥礁 Xian'e Jiao
Vietnam Đá Suối Ngọc
Coronation Bank China 康泰滩 Kangtai Tan 0
Discovery Small Reef Philippines Gomez Above water only at low tide. 0
China 小现礁 Xiaoxian Jiao
Vietnam Đá Nhỏ
Dhaulle Shoal China 逍遥暗沙 Xiaoyao Ansha 0
Hopps Reef Philippines Diego Silang Above water only at low tide. Part of Southampton Reefs. 0
China 禄沙礁 Lusha Jiao
Vietnam Đá Lục Giang
Jackson Atoll Philippines Quirino Four or five portions are above water at low tide. Encloses a lagoon. 0
China 五方礁 Wufang Jiao
Vietnam Bãi Hải Sâm
Jones Reef China 漳溪礁 Zhangxi Jiao Lies 5 miles (8 km) south of McKennan Reef. Small reef, partly above water only at low tide. Part of Union Banks. 0
Vietnam Đá Văn Nguyên
Livock Reef Philippines (NE part) Jacinto Above water only at low tide. Some rocks still visible at high tide. Part of Southampton Reefs. 0
Philippines (SW part) Bonifacio
China 三角礁 Sanjiao Jiao
Vietnam Đá Long Hải
Menzies Reef Philippines Rajah Lakandula[49] Awash at low tide. Part of Loaita Bank. 0
China 蒙自礁 Mengzi Jiao
Vietnam Đá An Lão
Owen Shoal China 奥援暗沙 Aoyuan Ansha Shallowest natural depth is 6 m. 0
Vietnam Bãi Chim Biển
Thitu Reef China 铁峙礁 Tiezhi Jiao Above water only at low tide. Located northeast of Thitu Island and unnamed on most maps. Part of Thitu Reefs 0

Claimed features by country but occupied by other country[edit]

Claimed features by country but occupied by other country
The PRC, the ROC and Vietnam claim all of the Spratly Island Chain, including some features that are just 50 km from other countries like the Philippines and Malaysia. The Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have claims on parts of the area. Here are the islands claimed but are not occupied by these three countries (flags refer to the country currently occupying the feature):
Philippines: Itu Aba Island Taiwan, Amboyna Cay Vietnam, Namyit Island Vietnam, Sand Cay Vietnam, Sin Cowe Island Vietnam, Sin Cowe East Island Vietnam, Southwest Cay Vietnam, Spratly Island Proper Vietnam, Pigeon Reef Vietnam, South Reef Vietnam, Ardasier Reef Malaysia, Erica Reef Malaysia, Investigator Shoal Malaysia, Mariveles Reef Malaysia, Swallow Reef/Island Malaysia, Mischief Reef China, Subi Reef China and all of features to the east of the 116°E meridian (unoccupied) (see Unoccupied but Largely Controlled by the Philippines subtable).
Malaysia: Amboyna Cay Vietnam, Barque Canada Reef Vietnam, Commodore Reef Philippines and Royal Charlotte Reef (unoccupied)
Brunei: Rifleman Bank Vietnam, Louisa Reef Malaysia and Owen Shoal (uncertain)


1900 - Vietnam's Nguyễn Dynasty continued to assert that the state Bac Hai Company had exercised Vietnam's sovereignty in the Spratlys since the 18th century.
1927 The French ship SS De Lanessan conducted a scientific survey of the Spratly Islands
1930 France launched a second expedition with the La Malicieuse, which raised the French flag on an island called Île de la Tempête. Chinese fishermen were present on the island, but the French made no attempt to expel them.
1932 The Republic of China sent the French government a memorandum contesting their sovereignty over the Paracels, stating that the Paracels were the extreme south of Chinese territories, based on the Chinese interpretation of the 1887 treaty ending the Sino-French War.
1933 Three French ships had taken control of nine of the largest islands and declared French sovereignty over the archipelago to the great powers including the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the principles found in the Berlin convention. France administered the area as part of Cochinchina. Japanese companies applied to the French authority in Cochichina for phosphate mining licence in the Spratlys.
1939 The Empire of Japan disputed French sovereignty over the islands, citing that Japan was the first country to discover the islands.

Japan declared its intention to place the island group under its jurisdiction. France and the United Kingdom protested and reasserted French sovereignty claims.

1941 Japan forcibly occupied the island group and remained in control until the end of World War II, administering the area as part of Taiwan. A submarine base was established on Taiping Island.
1945 After Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, the Republic of China claimed the Spratly Islands. The Republic of China sent troops to Taiping Island, and Chinese landing forces erected sovereignty markers.
1946 France dispatched warships to the islands several times but no attempts are made to evict Chinese forces.
1947 China produced a map with 9 undefined dotted lines, and claimed all of the islands within those lines.[56] France demanded the Chinese withdraw from the islands.
1948 France ceased maritime patrols near the islands and China withdrew most of its troops.
1951 At the 1951 San Francisco Conference on the Peace Treaty with Japan, the Soviet Union proposed that the Spratlys belonged to China. This was overwhelmingly rejected by the delegates. The delegates from Vietnam, which at that time was a French protectorate, declared sovereignty over the Paracel and the Spratly Islands, which was not opposed by any delegate at the conference. China did not attend the conference and was not a signatory of the treaty.
1956 Tomas Cloma, director of the Maritime Institute of the Philippines, claimed sovereignty over much of the Spratly Islands, naming his territory "Kalaya'an" ("Freedomland"). The People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, France, South Vietnam, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands all issued protests. The Republic of China and South Vietnam launched naval units to the islands, though South Vietnam left no permanent garrison. Later in the year, South Vietnam declared its annexation of the Spratly Islands as part of its Phước Tuy Province.
1958 The People's Republic of China issued a declaration defining its territorial waters which encompassed the Spratly Islands. North Vietnam's prime minister, Phạm Văn Đồng, sent a formal note to Zhou Enlai, stating that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam respects the decision on the 12 nautical mile limit of territorial waters. Both the South Vietnamese government and the communist revolutionary movement in South Vietnam continued to assert that the Spratlys belonged to Vietnam.
1961-63   South Vietnam established sovereignty markers on several islands in the chain.
1968 The Philippines sent troops to three islands on the premise of protecting Kalayaan citizens and announced the annexation of the Kalayaan island group.
1971 Malaysia issued claims to some of the Spratly Islands.
1972 The Philippines incorporated the Kalayaan islands into its Palawan province.
1975 The unified Vietnam declared claims over the Spratly Islands.
1978 A presidential decree from the Philippines outlined territorial claims to the islands.
1979 Malaysia published a map of its continental shelf claim, which includes twelve islands from the Spratly group.

Vietnam published a white paper outlining its claims to the islands and disputing those of the other claimants.

1982 Vietnam published another white paper, occupied several of the islands and constructed military installations.

The Philippines also occupied several more islands and constructed an air strip.

1983 Malaysia occupied Swallow Reef (Layang Layang), one of the Spratly Islands. A naval base and resort was later built at this location.
1984 Brunei established an exclusive fishing zone encompassing the Louisa Reef and neighboring areas in the southeastern Spratly Islands.
1996 The first Philippine-Vietnam Joint Marine Scientific Research Expedition in the South China Sea was conducted aboard the RPS Explorer of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
1987 The People's Republic of China conducted naval patrols in the Spratly Islands and established a permanent base.
1988 PRC warships and Vietnamese transport ships had a minor clash over Johnson Reef. PRC forces prevailed and the PRC won control over some Spratly reefs for the first time in the dispute.
1995 The Philippine government revealed Chinese military structure being built at the Mischief Reefs. Philippine President Fidel Ramos ordered increased patrol of the Philippine-controlled areas, the incident leads to numerous arrests of Chinese fishermen and naval clashes with Chinese pirate vessels.
1999 A Philippine hospital ship (Number 57 - Sierra Madre) ran aground near the Second Thomas Shoal. As of 2014 it had not been removed.[57][58]
2008 Taiwan's President became the first head of state from the claimant countries to visit Spratly islands. His visit sparks criticism from other claimants.
2009 The Office of the Philippine President enacted the "Philippine Baselines Law of 2009" (RA 9522). The new law classifies the Kalayaan Island Group and the Scarborough Shoal as a "regime of islands under the Republic of the Philippines." This means that the Philippines continues to lay claim over the disputed islands.[59]
2009 Two submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf were made on May. A joint submission by Malaysia and Vietnam claims jurisdiction over their respective continental shelves out to 200 nautical miles. A lone submission by Vietnam claims jurisdiction over an extended shelf area. The People's Republic of China and the Philippines both protested the moves stating that they violated agreements made with regards to the islands.[60][61]
2011 On 18 May 2011, China Mobile announced that its mobile phone coverage has expanded to the Spratly Islands, under the rationale that it can allow soldiers stationed on the islands, fishermen and merchant vessels within the area to use mobile services, and can also provide assistance during storms and sea rescues. The deployment of China Mobile's support over the islands took roughly one year to fulfil.[62]
2011 In May, the Chinese patrol boats attacked and cut the cable of Vietnamese oil exploration ships near Spratly islands. The incidence sparked several anti-China protests in Vietnam
2011 In June, the Chinese navy conducted three days of exercises, including live fire drills, in the disputed waters. This was widely seen as a warning to Vietnam, which had also conducted live fire drills near the Spratly Islands. Chinese patrol boats fired repeated rounds at a target on an apparently uninhabited island, as twin fighter jets streaked in tandem overhead. 14 vessels participated in the maneuvers, staging antisubmarine and beach landing drills aimed at "defending atolls and protecting sea lanes."[63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bowring, Philip (6 May 1994). "China Is Getting Help In a Grab at the Sea". New York Times. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Veloso Abueva, Jose (1999). Admiral Tomas Cloma, father of maritime education and discoverer of freedomland/Kalayaan Islands. Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy, National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines (Diliman, Quezon City). 
  3. ^ Guo, Rongxing. Territorial Disputes and Resource Management. p. 229. 
  4. ^ Ted, Mandala (May 1997). Spratly Islands Dispute. ICE Case Studies. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Lai To, Lei (1999). Chian and the South China Sea dialogues. Westport: Praeger Publishers. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-275-96635-5. 
  6. ^ Kate, Daniel (27 May 2011). "South China Sea Oil Rush Risks Clashes as U.S. Emboldens Vietnam on Claim". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  7. ^ World review of fisheries and aquaculture. Rome: FAO- Food and Agriculture Organisation. 2012. p. 4. 
  8. ^ a b Borneo Post: When All Else Fails (archived from the original on 2005-01-07). Additionally, pages 48 and 51 of "The Brunei-Malaysia Dispute over Territorial and Maritime Claims in International Law" by R. Haller-Trost, Clive Schofield, and Martin Pratt, published by the International Boundaries Research Unit, University of Durham, UK, points out that this is, in fact, a "territorial dispute" between Brunei and other claimants over the ownership of one above-water feature (Louisa Reef)
  9. ^ BBC Vietnamese - Việt Nam - Đời người lính Trường Sa
  10. ^ Philippines warns of arms race in South China Sea | Inquirer Global Nation
  11. ^ "China asserts sea border claims". British Broadcasting Corporation. May 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  12. ^ See the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf's website
  13. ^ "Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Remarks on Vietnam's Submission on Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf in South China Sea". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  14. ^ "PH to take China dispute to UN tribunal". Rappler. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "What's at stake in our case vs China". 9 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Carpio, Antonio. "What's at stake in our case vs China". Rappler. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "DECLARATION ON THE CONDUCT OF PARTIES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA". Association of Southeast Asian Nations. November 4, 2002. 
  18. ^ "China open to discussion on South China Sea code". CHINADAILY.com.cn. July 13, 2012. 
  19. ^ Online version available from the ASEAN website.
  20. ^ "S.Res.524 - A resolution reaffirming the strong support of the United States for the 2002 declaration of conduct of parties in the South China Sea among the member states of ASEAN and the People's Republic of China, and for other purposes.". United States Congress. August 2, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  21. ^ Patrick Ventrell (August 3, 2012). "South China Sea". United States Department of State. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  22. ^ "US voices concern over South China Sea rows". Al Jazeera. August 4, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Territorial claims in the Spratly and Paracel Islands, globalsecurity.org
  24. ^ United Nations Law of the Sea
  25. ^ Case of the Spratly Island Dispute (archived from the original on 2012-07-22)
  26. ^ Furtado, Xavier (December 1999). "International Law and the Dispute over the Spratly Islands: Whither UNCLOS?". Contemporary Southeast Asia 21: 386–404. 
  27. ^ "Jurisprudential Evidence To Support China's Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands";"Historical Evidence To Support China's Sovereignty over Nansha Islands";"International Recognition Of China's Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands", Foreign Ministry of the People's Republic of China
  28. ^ David G. Wiencek (2002). Cooperative monitoring in the South China Sea: satellite imagery, confidence-building measures, and the Spratly Islands disputes. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-275-97182-3. 
  29. ^ 《元史》地理志;《元代疆域图叙》
  30. ^ 《海南卫指挥佥事柴公墓志铬》
  31. ^ 《清直省分图》天下总舆图
  32. ^ 皇清各直省分图》之《天下总舆图
  33. ^ 《大清一统天下全图》
  34. ^ Undersea Treasure Chest Stirs up Tensions, BBC, April 29, 1999.
  36. ^ Furtado, Xavier (December 1999). "International Law and the Dispute over the Spratly Islands: Whither UNCLOS?". Contemporary Southeast Asia 21: 386–404. 
  37. ^ The Sino-Vietnamese difference on the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos, Luu Van Loi, 1996, The Gioi publisher[dead link]
  38. ^ Ling Wai Dai Da (Information on Things Beyond the Passes) by Zhou Choufei
  39. ^ Zhu Fan Zhi (Notes on Foreign Countries) by Zhao Juguo
  40. ^ Dzurek, Daniel J.; Schofield, Clive H. (1996). The Spratly Islands dispute: who's on first?. IBRU. pp. 8. ISBN 978-1-897643-23-5. 
  41. ^ a b c d "The Vietnamese state's long standing and uninterrupted sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes". Authority of Foreign Information Service (Vietnam). Retrieved 28 October 2012.  Template:Dead link/date=March 2014
  42. ^ "Cairo Communiquè, December 1, 1943". Japan National Diet Library. December 1, 1943. 
  43. ^ San Francisco Peace Treaty
  44. ^ [1][dead link]
  45. ^ Perlez, Jane (21 June 2012). "China Criticizes Vietnam in Dispute Over Islands - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  46. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av "Digital Gazetter of Spratly Islands". Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  47. ^ Google Earth at 10°22’40.72" N and 114°21’59.17".
  48. ^ Taiwan News.[broken citation]
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad "Place Keywords by Country/Territory– Pacific Ocean (without Great Barrier Reef)" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  50. ^ a b c d e f DJ Sta. Ana, China builds more Spratly outposts, May 24, 2011, The Philippine Star.
  51. ^ Google Earth 11°27'12.79"N 114°21'21.61"E
  52. ^ No comprehensive list of Philippine-occupied Spratly islands is easily available. A web search can confirm that Ayungin Reef is occupied by the Philippines
  53. ^ a b Erica Reef and Investigator shoal were occupied by Malaysia in 1999. However, no comprehensive updated list of islands occupied by Malaysia is easily available. A web search can confirm the occupation of these two features
  54. ^ a b Hancox, David; Prescott, Victor (1995). A geographical description of the Spratly Islands and an account of hydrographic surveys amongst those islands (Maritime briefing). University of Durham, International Boundaries Research Unit. p. 21. ISBN 978-1897643181. 
  55. ^ In January 2014, PRC entered James Shoal unopposed. Chinese ships patrol area contested by Malaysia. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  56. ^ "International Claims in Spratly and Oil Claims". paracelspratly.com. 
  57. ^ Keck, Zachary (13 March 2014). "Second Thomas Shoal Tensions Intensify". The Diplomat. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  58. ^ Himmelman, Jeff; Gilbertson, Ashley (24 October 2013). "A game of shark and minnow". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  59. ^ Philippine Baselines Law of 2009 signed, GMA News, March 11, 2009.
  60. ^ Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) Outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines: Submissions to the Commission: Joint submission by Malaysia and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  61. ^ Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) Outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines: Submissions to the Commission: Submission by the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  62. ^ Ian Mansfield, 18th May 2011, China Mobile Expands Coverage to the Spratly Islands, Cellular News
  63. ^ "Chinese naval maneuvers seen as warning to Vietnam". Chinh's News. June 18, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]