Spratly Islands

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Spratly Islands,

group of about 100 low islands and coral reefs in the central South China Sea, intersecting busy shipping lanes. The whole group is claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and parts are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. Brunei has established (1984) an exclusive economic zone encompassing Louisa Reef, but it has not claimed the islet. Various islands, valued primarily for the petroleum and gas potential of the surrounding waters and to a lesser degree for their fishing grounds, are occupied by their claimants. China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam all have forces there. There have been many disputes and some fighting, most notably between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in 1988 and 1992, and the Spratlys remain a source of tension among the claimants. A 2002 agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China called for all claimants to avoid activities that would heighten tensions over the islands, but China, Taiwan, and other claimants have nonetheless improved a number of the islands and reefs so that they can support airstrips and other facilities. A 2016 ruling under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in a case that was initiated by the Philippines against China rejected China's main basis for its claim to the islands, and judged that none of the islands met the criteria required to entitle any claimant to an exclusive economic zone.
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forces in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands on Monday, Feb.
According to China, 2000 years ago, the Paracels and Spratly islands were a part of the Chinese nation.
Washington-based think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported that Hanoi has extended its runway on Spratly Island, its largest outpost and administrative center in the area.
Maritime surveillance aircraft and transport planes as well as combat aircraft can be accommodated in the upgraded runway, (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-vietnam-idUSKBN13C2TH) Reuters reported , citing AMTI. The report also said that Vietnam had added about 57 acres of land to Spratly Island in recent years.
"Vietnam continues to quietly upgrade its facilities in the Spratly Island, without facing the same reaction from China's maritime military forces as the Philippines recently has," AMTI said.
Trillanes IV, committee chairman, gave this assessment after conducting a three-hour hearing on the alleged land reclamation and dredging operations by China on the disputed Spratly island chain in the West Philippine Sea.
Sry Thammarong told reporters that Hu and Hun Sen addressed issues surrounding the territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands, known in China as the Nansha, during a meeting in Phnom Penh.
Chen left on a military aircraft for Itu Aba, the largest within the disputed Spratly Island chain, the report said.
A ship belonging to the Chinese navy fired at a Vietnamese fishing vessel earlier this month near the disputed Spratly Islands, injuring five Vietnamese crewmen, according to Vietnamese government officials.
The Chinese group, however, incorrectlyclaimed Recto or Reed Bank as part of Nansha Island Group or the Spratly Islands. "An accidental collision between a Chinese and a Philippine fishing boat in the waters of Reed Bank, Nansha Island Group on the evening of 9 June, caused damage to a Philippine fishing boat," Chen said in the letter.
But Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Wednesday corrected the same letter, saying that Reed Bank, is not a part of Nansha Island Group - more commonly known as Spratly Islands.
The Department of National Defense (DND) disclosed Wednesday that it will launch an investigation into the reported missile tests conducted by China in areas around the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, also referred to as West Philippine Sea.