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Spratly Islands:
Geography

Spratly Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Spratly Islands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by gas and oil deposits. They are claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Brunei has established a fishing zone that overlaps a southern reef but has not made any formal claim.
Location
Definition
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
Definition
8 38 N, 111 55 E
Map references
Definition
Southeast Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
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 an area of nearly 410,000 sq km of the central South China Sea
Area - comparative
Definition
NA
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
926 km
Maritime claims
Definition
NA
Climate
Definition
tropical
Terrain
Definition
flat
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Southwest Cay 4 m
Natural resources
Definition
fish, guano, undetermined oil and natural gas potential
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
0 sq km
Natural hazards
Definition
typhoons; numerous reefs and shoals pose a serious maritime hazard
Environment - current issues
Definition
NA
Geography - note
Definition
strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea; includes numerous small islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs


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