Scarborough Shoal: a Philippine Territory

7776 Words Mar 17th, 2013 32 Pages
I. INTRODUCTION

The Scarborough Shoal and It’s Location

Scarborough Shoal or Scarborough Reef, also known as Huangyan Island or Panatag Shoal is located between the Macclesfield Bank and Luzon Island of the Philippines in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. It is a group of rocks or very small islands plus reefs in an atoll shape. The was named after the East India Company tea-trade ship Scarborough which was wrecked on one of its rocks on 12 September 1784 with all lives lost. Scarborough Shoal/Panatag forms a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and rocks or very small islands 55 kilometers (34 mi) in circumference with a total area including shallow water areas of 150 square kilometres. The shoal encompasses a shallow lagoon
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The 19th century nautical books of the British Admiralty and the Spanish Hydrographic Office did not note the presence, on this shoal, of fishermen from China or elsewhere (unlike on the Spratly and Paracel Islands). The geographical proximity spoke in favour of the Philippines (rescue operations).

It is for security reasons and not for historical reasons that China claimed, unofficially, all the features in the South China Sea, among them, the Scarborough Shoal in 1935. Thus, before the Second World War, in the context of Japanese expansion, the Philippines and China made parallel claims to Scarborough Shoal, each without knowing that the other was doing the same. Both claims were unofficial in the sense that there was no notice to the whole world to avoid attracting the attention of the Japanese. Nevertheless, in the case of the Philippines, the State Department had more specific information about Scarborough Shoal than the Chinese had.

For the Chinese government, Scarborough Shoal was simply one small feature among all the South China Sea islands and reefs. It had no information about this shoal but was expecting that in the future its researchers would find some evidence of Chinese ownership. The Chinese claim was as recent or as old as the one of the Philippines.

From the end of the Second World War up to the 1990s, Scarborough Shoal was largely ignored by the governments of China would claim regularly that
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