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Spratly Islands
Map of Spratly Islands
Introduction Spratly Islands
Background:
Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 limited islands or reefs. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by gas and oil deposits. They are claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and Philippines. About 50 islands are occupied by China (about 450 soldiers), Malaysia (70-90), Philippines (about 100), and Vietnam (about 1,500). Brunei is a claimant but has no outposts.
Geography Spratly Islands
Location:
Southeastern Asia, group of reefs and islands in South China Sea, about two-thirds of way from southern Vietnam to southern Philippines
Geographic coordinates:
8 38 N, 111 55 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: less than 5 sq km
note: includes 100 or so islets, coral reefs, and sea mounts scattered over an area of nearly 410,000 sq km of central South China Sea
water: 0 sq km
land: less than 5 sq km
Area - comparative:
NA
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
926 km
Maritime claims:
NA
Climate:
tropical
Terrain:
flat
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Southwest Cay 4 m
Natural resources:
fish, guano, undetermined oil and natural gas potential
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
typhoons; serious maritime hazard because of numerous reefs and shoals
Environment - current issues:
NA
Geography - note:
strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in central South China Sea; includes numerous limited islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs
People Spratly Islands
Total Population:
no indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered garrisons occupied by personnel of several claimant states (July 2003 est.)
Government Spratly Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Spratly Islands
Economy Spratly Islands
Economy - overview:
Economic activity is limited to commercial fishing. proximity to nearby oil- and gas-producing sedimentary basins suggests potential for oil and gas deposits, but region is largely unexplored, and there are no reliable estimates of potential reserves; commercial exploitation has yet to be developed.

Transportation Spratly Islands
Waterways:
none
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only
Airports:
3 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Spratly Islands
Military - note:
Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 limited islands or reefs, of which about 45 are claimed and occupied by China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam
Transnational Issues Spratly Islands
Disputes - international:
all of Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam; parts of them are claimed by Malaysia and Philippines; in 1984, Brunei established an exclusive fishing zone that encompasses Louisa Reef in southern Spratly Islands but has not publicly claimed island; claimants in November 2002 signed "Declaration on Conduct of Parties in South China Sea", a mechanism to ease tension but which fell short of a legally binding "code of conduct"