Spratly Islands Dispute

Topics: Spratly Islands, South China Sea, Philippines Pages: 23 (8766 words) Published: December 31, 2012
Final Term Paper

Gio DL. Galgao
Jan Kenrick Z. Sagum
Franz Josef C. Candelaria

Submitted to:
Mr. Marvin R. Soriano

The Spratly Island
The Spratly Islands are a group of more than 750 reefs,[2] islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia (Sabah), about one third of the way from there to southern Vietnam. They contain less than four square kilometers of land area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers of sea. The Spratlys are one of three archipelagos of the South China Sea which comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs and which complicate governance and economics in that region of Southeast Asia. Such small and remote islands have little economic value in themselves, but are important in establishing international boundaries. There are no native islanders but there are, at least for now, rich fishing grounds; and initial surveys indicate the islands may contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas. About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from Vietnam, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia and the Philippines. Brunei has also claimed an Exclusive Economic Zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys encompassing just one area of small islands above mean high water (on Louisa Reef). This has led to escalating tensions over the Islands' disputed status. Historical Background of the Dispute

200BC around – China firstly discovered the Spratly Islands 220 – Nansha (Spratly) Island was settled by Chinese monks, building up a monastery on that island. 789 – The Tang Dynasty, China included the Nansha Islands into its administrative map 990 – Spratley Islands became a part of the Northern Song area in Hainan 1121 – Kublai Khan controlled most of the islands during China’s Yuan Dynasty China was the first to discover, name, develop,conduct economic activities on and exercise jurisdiction of the Nansha Islands. The earliest discovery by the Chinese people of the Nansha Islands can be traced back to as early as the Han Dynasty. Yang Fu of the East Han Dynasty (23-220 A.D.) made reference to the Nansha Islands in his book entitled Yiwu Zhi (Records of Rarities) , which reads: “Zhanghai qitou, shui qian er duo cishi”(“There are islets, sand cays, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, the water there is shallow and filled with magnetic rocks or stones”). Chinese people then called the South China Sea Zhanghai and all the islands, reefs, shoals and isles in the South China Sea, including the Nansha and Xisha Islands, Qitou. In numerous history and geography books published in the Tang and Song Dynasties, the Nansha and Xisha Islands were called Jiuruluo Islands, $hitang (literally meaning atolls surrounding a lagoon), Changsha (literally meaning long ranges of shoals), Qianli $hitang, Qianli Changsha, Wanli $hitang, and Wanli Changsha among others. Reference was made to the Nansha Islands in over one hundred categories of books published in the four dynasties of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing in the name of $hitang or Changsha. During World War II, Japan launched the war of aggression against China and occupied most of China’s territory, including the Nansha Islands. It was explicitly provided in the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and other international documents that all the territories Japan had stolen from China should be restored to China, and naturally, they included the Nansha Islands. In December 1946, the then Chinese government sent senior officials to the Nansha Islands for their recovery. A take-over ceremony was held on the islands and a monument erected in commemoration of it, and the troops were sent over on garrison duty. In 1952 the Japanese Government officially stated that it renounced all its “right, title and claim to Taiwan, Penghu Islands as well as Nansha and Xisha islands”,...
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