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Sovereignty over the Spratly Islands

The Republic of China in Taiwan claims the South China Sea is under its jurisdiction. Taipei insists any type of activity conducted in that vast sea area requires its approval. But the fact is that the government has done little to defend its sovereign rights over the area where there are four groups of coral reef archipelagoes.

The four groups are Tungsha (East Sand), Hsisha (West Sand), Chungsha (Middle Sand), and Nansha (South Sand). The first two are known worldwide as the Pratas and Paracel Islands. Middle Sand is called the Macclesfield Bank, while the last is named the Spratly Islands. According to the Constitution, all four are part of the territory of the Republic of China. However, Taipei is almost powerless to protect its interests in the area under whose waters are found an estimated 7.7 billion barrels of oil, comparable to the reserves in the Arabian Gulf.

Taipei's sovereignty over the four small archipelagoes is challenged by the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. Their claim of sovereignty, except Beijing's, is untenable at best.

The only one of the island groups Taiwan still can assert total sovereignty is Tungsha (Pratas Islands), which Chinese started developing during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Qing China made the islets part of its territory in 1730. Of course, no countries in the world contested its sovereignty. In 1909, Tsai Kang, governor of Guangdong, had a stone marker erected on Tungsha Island, the largest of the Pratas group, to claim Chinese sovereignty again. The Pratas Islands were occupied by the Japanese in 1939, during the undeclared Sino-Japanese war. The Japanese made them part of the territory of Taiwan under their colonial rule. Named Shinnan-gunto (New South Islands), the Pratas group was placed under the jurisdiction of Takao-shu (Kaohsiung Prefecture). It was restored to the Republic of China as part of the province of Guangdong at the end of the Second World War in 1945.

After the Chinese civil war, however, the government of the Republic of China which was moved to Taipei placed the Pratas group under the jurisdiction of the special municipality of Kaohsiung in 1979. A national monument and a corridor were set up on the main island on June 30, 1989 and May 19, 1992 respectively, to assert sovereignty over the entire archipelago. A hospital, power station, and runway have been established, too. A service center was also opened to provide help for fishermen operating in the South China Sea. There are three jetties and an onshore service center which gives directions to fishing boats.

Incidentally, the special municipality of Kaohsiung extends its jurisdiction over the Spratly Islands as well.

Chinese discovered the Spratlys much earlier, as early as during the Later Han Dynasty (25-220). The History of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) records naval patrols of the waters off Nansha (Spratly Islands). In the official maps of the Ming Dynasty, the Spratlys are marked as part of Chinese territory. They are so marked repeatedly in official maps published from 1724 to 1817.

June 23, 2009    THvothuongsu@
China's hegemonistic ambition is a threat to world peace in the 21st century.
July 3, 2009    lht1965@
All information is a lie. Paracels and Spratly belong to Vietnam. In 1974, China had a quick war over Vietnam and took over Paracels; in 1988, they repeated the same action to the Vietnam and occupied few more of Spratly.
From 1949, China has many conflicts with most of its neighbors and always lose!!!
Japan should be your historical lesson. A step too far, you will lose. Winner will take it all. US will not let you do whatever you want.
July 6, 2009    getreal@
The Islands of Paracels and Spratly does belong to Vietnam so please get out of their country and leave the Vietnamese people alone.
October 16, 2009    yiyefan1000@
Those countries who do not have any strong evidence always try to play a card: China's hegemonistic ambition. Everything should be based on evidence. China's claims have been supported by numerous maps and historic records. Smaller countries want to challenge China by gaining sympathy from other bigger powers, e.g. US. How shameless and brazen!
October 17, 2009    ludahai_twn@
@yiyefan -- Historic maps and fishing rights do not confer sovereignty in international law. Vietnamese and Cham fishermen have been using those islets for fishing FAR LONGER than the Chinese had. Furthermore, the ROC stated in 1928 that the Paracel Islands were the southernmost territory in its country, NOT the Spratly. More -- those islands were administered as a part of Cochin China by the French from Saigon until 1954 when the Vietnamese won the battle of Dien Bien Phu.

Historically, at least the western half of the Spratly's belongs to Viet Nam, NOT to China (or Taiwan). Taiwan should focus on the Tiaoyutai Island issue where its claim is FAR STRONGER.
October 19, 2009    glory@
lht1965-Sure and yes. We Chinese are so weak and can’t match with the world’s one and only super power Vietnam that conquered Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C. And now we Chinese are still so weak to defend our island Paracel and Splatly islands. But we can defend our island with our WILL POWER and MORAL POWER to survive when the Big Boy Vietnam will send all their mighty military machine against us.
October 20, 2009    centxiao@
History can not be denied by Vietnamese propaganda. International law also respect history.
Little Comrade: you should shut up.
October 20, 2009    superkinez@
Hey Vietnamese friends! Are you serious about these insults you are throwing around? I can see that you are angry, but get real, China will always be a regional power and will own all of these islands. Now accept it and live with it.
October 22, 2009    daotk75@
If TW wants to be independent, TW should support VN to gain back Paracel Island.
October 29, 2009    elumpen@
Grow up guys. Who cares about a few lumps of rock in the middle of nowhere? They don't "belong" to anyone, and there's certainly no obvious reason why they should belong to Taiwan. They belong to the people who live there. Would you like China to apply your logic to the question of who Taiwan "belongs" to?

If the politicians had any smarts they would arrange for the Spratly islands to be used as centers of co-operation (military, commercial, tourist, whatever) between claimant countries; everybody wins. Unfortunately, they don't, so they won't, and everyone loses and gets to fling mud around.
December 25, 2009    future@
elumpen@ wrote:
Grow up guys. Who cares about a few lumps of rock in the middle of nowhere? They don't "belong" to anyone, and there's certainly no obvious reason why they should belong to Taiwan. They belong to the people who live there. Would you like China to apply your logic to the question of who Taiwan "belongs" to?

If the politicians had any smarts they would arrange for the Spratly islands to be used as centers of co-operation (military, commercial, tourist, whatever) between claimant countries; everybody wins. Unfortunately, they don't, so they won't, and everyone loses and gets to fling mud around.
china against Vietnam as it need money from us for economic recovery during cool war, it's free delivered, transferred technology by USSR as they are not innovative techs so far, selling partner.. china can benefit from copied products in crisis, the inventor now is the employer, it's flexi
B2, B52... it's now in the past, us landed and welcomed, china also, why not?
May 4, 2010    sweetlove6761@
getreal@ wrote:
The Islands of Paracels and Spratly does belong to Vietnam so please get out of their country and leave the Vietnamese people alone.
How can u say that when u don't have enough information??? Let’s put urself in Vietnamese people's shoes and think of what they might think??? U know nothing, ok?
June 29, 2010    jennymae.enomar@
ludahai_twn@ wrote:
@yiyefan -- Historic maps and fishing rights do not confer sovereignty in international law. Vietnamese and Cham fishermen have been using those islets for fishing FAR LONGER than the Chinese had. Furthermore, the ROC stated in 1928 that the Paracel Islands were the southernmost territory in its country, NOT the Spratly. More -- those islands were administered as a part of Cochin China by the French from Saigon until 1954 when the Vietnamese won the battle of Dien Bien Phu.

Historically, at least the western half of the Spratly's belongs to Viet Nam, NOT to China (or Taiwan). Taiwan should focus on the Tiaoyutai Island issue where its claim is FAR STRONGER.
yah ,dats true
November 3, 2010    arikisbad@
There are evidences that it was around, but Vietnam was the first country that has made the claim for it first internationally.
June 14, 2011    del127@
Just a thought for Chinese here:

All those claims of spratly islands were already withdrawn long time ago when China close its door to outside world and forbade sailing to high seas during Ming Dynasty, remember chengho voyage and the burning of all ships/maps. It’s written in history and cant deny it.
June 30, 2011    kingadrianfacalarin@
spratly islands is for philippines...
July 11, 2012    drag0n_reborn1991@
I'm just a little the people of Vietnam, in my subconscious since I was born Paracel Islands from Vietnam, has a lot of Vietnam generation who sacrificed heroically to defend the island. He said the island is of him but he never wanted to protect the island or to pray for a beautiful island or he just wanted to occupy the island to serve the economic interests and strengthen its military forces of him. (Paracels has absorbed the blood of Vietnam and Paracel soul forever only recognizes the sovereignty of the people of Vietnam).
August 6, 2013    nobody@
F***ing Chinese, you're the virus and bacteria for the world. Hope you all get killed by disaster.
August 7, 2013    hornydad4u68@
yiyefan1000@ wrote:
Those countries who do not have any strong evidence always try to play a card: China's hegemonistic ambition. Everything should be based on evidence. China's claims have been supported by numerous maps and historic records. Smaller countries want to challenge China by gaining sympathy from other bigger powers, e.g. US. How shameless and brazen!
Ok, I’ll draw a map and I want you to support it too... moron!
August 7, 2013    hornydad4u68@
ludahai_twn@ wrote:
@yiyefan -- Historic maps and fishing rights do not confer sovereignty in international law. Vietnamese and Cham fishermen have been using those islets for fishing FAR LONGER than the Chinese had. Furthermore, the ROC stated in 1928 that the Paracel Islands were the southernmost territory in its country, NOT the Spratly. More -- those islands were administered as a part of Cochin China by the French from Saigon until 1954 when the Vietnamese won the battle of Dien Bien Phu.

Historically, at least the western half of the Spratly's belongs to Viet Nam, NOT to China (or Taiwan). Taiwan should focus on the Tiaoyutai Island issue where its claim is FAR STRONGER.
Sorry but how can a floating island claim another island. They are not even a country.
August 10, 2013    tonyyeow@
nobody@ wrote:
F***ing Chinese, you're the virus and bacteria for the world. Hope you all get killed by disaster.
Very true of yourself. You are really nobody. Wonder where you learn those foul languages. Sound illiterate. Have you ever been to a school?
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