The Spratly Islands

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The issue of the Spratly Islands is an ongoing territorial dispute between many neighbouring countries over overlapping claims to the sovereignty of the Spratly Islands. The Spratly Islands are a group of islands and reefs occupying an area of nearly 5 square kilometers of the South China Sea, off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia. Although there has not been detailed exploration or research into the Spratly Islands, many believe that the area may hold reserves of natural resources such as oil and natural gas as numerous sedimentary basins have been discovered close to the region. The South China Sea is an important shipping channel, and facilitates trillions of dollars of seaborne trade. The region is also home to rich marine ecosystems,…show more content…
In 1949, the line was revised and reduced to a nine-dash line which till present day is used as a historical basis for China’s claim to the Spratly Islands as they fall in the area marked by the nine-dash line. China also claims that during the Han and Ming Dynasty, Chinese naval expeditions were made to the Spratly Islands. The Spratly Islands lie within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Under the UNCLOS, the Philippines has sovereign rights over the Spratly Islands and its natural resources as it is within its EEZ. The Spratly Islands are more commonly referred to as Kalayaan as the Philippines have made claims since 1950s when a Philippine explorer visited the Spratly Islands. They were officially claimed in 1971 by the Philippines and designated “Kalayaan”. The Philippines is currently bringing up…show more content…
Fiery Cross Reef has expanded to nearly 300 metres wide and 3 kilometres long, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and buildings have been constructed together with an airstrip. These reefs, once submerged in water, have now been turned into artificial islands which are able to accommodate airstrips, infrastructure and even new ports. China’s construction and reclamation works on the disputed Spratly Islands have escalated tensions between claimants in the region, and have raised questions over China’s motive in carrying out their recent island-building on the Spratlys, despite unresolved territorial claims and ongoing disputes. With China’s powerful yet growing military and thriving economy, there is fear amongst claimants about how China is planning to utilize the newly created artificial islands and whether China is using the construction to assert power and control over the Spratly Islands and frighten smaller

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