The following is reproduced from the CIA World Factbook (where additional information is available). It is compiled and published annually by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States government.
The text is unchanged, except that the "Map Reference" section is omitted. Otherwise, only the layout and order was adapted for this website.
This entry in the original Factbook for the year 2001 was based on information available at 1 January 2001.
Background: Rich fishing grounds and the potential for gas and oil deposits have caused this archipelago to be claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. All five parties have occupied certain islands or reefs, and occasional clashes have occurred between Chinese and Vietnamese naval forces
Economic 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.
|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|
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:||NA|
|Land boundaries:||0 km|
|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:
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
|Irrigated land:||0 sq km (1993)|
|Natural hazards:||Typhoons; serious maritime hazard because of numerous reefs and shoals|
|Environment - current issues:||NA|
|Geography - note:||Strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea; includes numerous small islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs|
|Population:||No indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered garrisons occupied by personnel of several claimant states (July 2001 est.)
|Country name:||Conventional long form:
conventional short form: Spratly Islands
|Ports and harbors:||None; offshore anchorage only|
|Airports:||4 (2000 est.)|
|Airports - with paved runways:||Total:
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2000 est.)
|Airports - with unpaved runways:||Total:
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)
|Military - note:||Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs, of which about 45 are claimed and occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam|
|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 that encompasses Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands, but has not publicly claimed the island; in 2000, China joined ASEAN discussions towards creating a South China Sea "code of conduct" - a non-legally binding confidence building measure|
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