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 Spratly Islands  
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Spratly Islands]

Spratly Islands

Geography

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Location: 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

Area:
total: less than 5 sq km
land: less than 5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes 100 or so islets, coral reefs, and sea mounts scattered over a large area of the central South China Sea

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%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 100%

Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1993)

Natural hazards: typhoons; serious maritime hazard because of numerous reefs and shoals

Environment—current issues: NA

Environment—international agreements:
party to: none of the selected agreements
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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

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Population: no indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered garrisons occupied by personnel of several claimant states

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Spratly Islands

Data code: PG

Economy

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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

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Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 4 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military—note: about 50 small islands or reefs are occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam

Transnational Issues

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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, which encompasses Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands, but has not publicly claimed the island