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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Spratly Islands
Map of Spratly Islands
Introduction Spratly Islands
This archipelago - surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by gas and oil deposits - is claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. All five parties occupy certain islands or reefs.
Geography Spratly Islands
Southeastern Asia, group of reefs and islands in the South China Sea, about two-thirds of the way from southern Vietnam to the southern Philippines
Geographic coordinates:
8 38 N, 111 55 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
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 the central South China Sea
water: 0 sq km
land: less than 5 sq km
Area - comparative:
Land boundaries:
0 km
926 km
Maritime claims:
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:
Geography - note:
strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea; includes numerous small islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs
People Spratly Islands
no indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered garrisons occupied by personnel of several claimant states (July 2002 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. The proximity to nearby oil- and gas-producing sedimentary basins suggests the potential for oil and gas deposits, but the region is largely unexplored, and there are no reliable estimates of potential reserves; commercial exploitation has yet to be developed.

Transportation Spratly Islands
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only
4 (2001)
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 small islands or reefs, of which about 45 are claimed and occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam
Transnational Issues Spratly Islands
Disputes - international:
all of the Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam; parts of them are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines; in 1984, Brunei established an exclusive fishing zone that encompasses Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands, but has not publicly claimed the island; in 2000, China joined ASEAN discussions towards creating a South China Sea "code of conduct" - a non-legally binding confidence building measure

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003