South China Sea Islands

The South China Sea Islands consist of over 250 around 1-km2 islands, atolls, cays, shoals, reefs, and sandbars in the South China Sea, most of which have no indigenous people, many of which are naturally under water at high tide, some of which are permanently submerged. The features are grouped into three archipelagos (listed by area size), Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal:

  • The Spratly Islands, disputed between the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, and Vietnam, with Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines claiming part of the archipelago
  • The Paracel Islands, disputed between the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, and Vietnam
  • The Pratas Islands, disputed between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China
  • The Macclesfield Bank, disputed between the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
  • The Scarborough Shoal, disputed between the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, and the Republic of China

There are minerals, natural gas, and oil deposits on the islands and under their nearby seafloor, also an abundance of sealife, such as fish, animals and vegetation traditionally exploited as food by all the claimant nations for thousands of years - mostly without disputes that could risk war. in the 20th Century, since the WW2 settlements failed to resolve ownership of such lesser areas of land, seas and islands, - and because of the economic, military, and transportational importance - their control, especially that of the Spratlys, has been in dispute between China and several Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam from the mid-20th century onwards. True occupation and control are shared between the claimants. (See Claims and control below)

Read more about South China Sea Islands:  Names, History, Claims and Control, Geography, Life

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