The South China Se The Sea Lies A String Of 14 Islands And Reefs

1324 Words Dec 10th, 2016 6 Pages
Somewhere off the coast of Southeast Asia in the South China sea lies a string of 14 islands and reefs. These reefs and islands are the center of an international dispute of sorts. Six surrounding countries lay claim to at least a few of the islands, but China claims them all. Including the sea surrounding them. All the Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while parts of them are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. But according to China, their territorial rights to the islands and sea date back over 2,000 years from ancestors who discovered, named and explored the South China sea (The World Factbook: Spratly Islands) (Livingstone).
Largely unexplored, the islands include approximately 100 inlets, coral reefs and sea mounts for a total of less than 5 km of land scattered over 158,000 square miles and are located in the midst of international shipping lanes. (The World Factbook: Spratly Islands)
The natural resources seem to be part of the struggle for control of the Spratlys. There are differing opinions on the amount of oil and natural gas the islands hold. “China’s claim is the islands and the surrounding sea are home to 125 billion gallons of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas but the United States disagrees. The U.S. Geological Survey disputes the numbers, instead estimating that the region holds 5 to 22 billion barrels of oil and 70 to 290 trillion cubic feet of gas – a sizable difference” (DeLuca). However, based on…

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