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Spratly Islands Dispute: Claimants basis for Ownership of the Islands.

I.

Introduction

The Spratly Islands are a group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines and Malaysia (Sabah), about one third of the way from there to southern Vietnam. They contain less than four square kilometers of land area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers of sea. 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, Brunei and Vietnam. All of the Spratly Islands are claimed by China (including Taiwan) and Vietnam; parts of them are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines; despite no public territorial claim to Louisa Reef, Brunei implicitly lays claim by including it within the natural prolongation of its continental shelf and basis for a seabed median with Vietnam; claimants in November 2002 signed the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," wh ich has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct"; in March 2005 .

Thesis Statement The area of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea is the most contested place on the planet that is claim entirely by China, Taiwan, a nd Vietnam and partly by Brunei, Malaysia, and Philippines.

I.

Claimants basis for Island Ownership. a. Chinas Claim(Peoples Republic of China) i. Historical Claim 1. China claim discovery of the Spratly islands and

intermittent presence from the Han dynasty. 2. Chinese authorities cite ancient texts and maps relating to Chinese naval and fishing activity throughout the South China Sea. ii. Military Occupancy b. Taiwan (Republic of China) i. Historical Claim 1. China claim discovery of the Spratly islands and

intermittent presence from the Han dynasty. 2. Chinese authorities cite ancient texts and maps relating to Chinese naval and fishing activity throughout the South China Sea. ii. Military Occupancy

c. Vietnam i. Historical Claim ii. Military Occupancy d. Brunei i. Continental Shelf 1. It states that the southern part of the Spratly Chain is actually a part of its continental shelf and therefore a part of its territory and resources. ii. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)/ United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1. Is a sea zone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles from its coast. In casual usage, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf beyond the 200-mile limit. e. Malaysia i. Military Occupancy f. Philippines i. Res nullius 1. There was no effective sovereignty over the islands until the 1930s when France and then Japan acquired the islands. When Japan renounced their sovereignty over the islands according to the San

Francisco Treaty, there was a relinquishment of the right to the islands without any special beneficiary. Therefore, argue the Philippines, the islands became Res nullius and available for annexation. ii. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)/ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) 1. Is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles from its coast. In casual usage, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf beyond the 200-mile limit. II. Conclusion Up to the present time, Spratly islands still being contested by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Philippines as to who really owns the islands.