Gaven Reefs

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Gaven Reefs is located in South China Sea
Gaven Reefs
Location of the Gaven Reefs.

The Gaven Reefs 10°12′30″N 114°13′30″E / 10.20833°N 114.22500°E / 10.20833; 114.22500Coordinates: 10°12′30″N 114°13′30″E / 10.20833°N 114.22500°E / 10.20833; 114.22500 (Chinese: Nanxun Jiao 南薰礁 and Xinan Jiao 西南礁, Vietnamese: Đá Ga Ven and "Đá Lạc", Tagalog: Burgos) is a group of two reefs in the Tizard Bank of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

They are occupied and controlled by China (PRC) as part of Sansha, and claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. They have a supply platform and a reef fortress.

The north reef (Nanxun Jiao) comprises 86 hectares (210 acres) and its highest point is 1.9 meters (6 feet 3 inches) above sea level. The south reef (Xinan Jiao) comprises 67 ha (170 acres).[1] Since 2014, north reef has been subject to significant reclamation activities.[2]

Geographical features[edit]

On 12 July 2016, the tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration concluded that for purposes of Article 121(3) of the Convention, the high-tide features at Gaven Reef (North) is rocks that cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own and accordingly shall be entitled to 12nm of territorial sea measured from its baseline but have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.[3] PCA also concluded that Gaven Reef (South) is, or in their natural condition was, exposed at low tide and submerged at high tide and are, accordingly low-tide elevations that do not generate entitlement to a territorial sea, exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.[3]

Military development[edit]

The supply platform at the reefs has anti-aircraft guns, naval guns, search radars and radio communications equipment,[4] and reclamation work during 2014–15 expanded its area to 0.136 square kilometres (0.053 sq mi).[2]

In late 2016, photographs emerged which suggested that Hughes Reef has been armed with anti-aircraft weapons and a CIWS missile-defence system.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ D. J. Hancox, John Robert Victor Prescott (1995). A Geographical Description of the Spratly Islands and an Account of Hydrographic Surveys Amongst Those Islands, Volume 1. IBRU. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  2. ^ a b "Gaven reef tracker". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Award" (PDF). Permanent Court of Arbitration. 12 July 2016. p.259
  4. ^ DJ Sta. Ana, News5 (2011-05-24). "China builds more Spratly outposts". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  5. ^ "China's New Spratly Island Defenses". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2016-12-17.