The spratlys dispute and the major powers

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Wan Shawaluddin Wan Hassan


The Spratly archipelago is made up of about 100 islands, coral reefs, shoals, atolls, and sand pits covering 160,000 square km, with the biggest, Itu Aba, about 600 acres. Because of its vast size and uninhabitable nature, no coastal state has bee able to effect permanent settlement or exercise effective control over more than a small portion of the islets and the surrounding sea area. This encourage claims and counter claims made on the archipelago. The Spratlys are the most contested of the islands group in the South China Sea. There are six countries directly claiming ownership of the islands. The countries are the People's Republic of China, Republic of China or Taiwan, Republic of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. China and Vietnam are claiming the whole archipelago. Meanwhile the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei are only claiming part of the islands. Apart from the claimant states, the Spratly struggle also concerns the major powers. 


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WAN HASSAN, Wan Shawaluddin. The spratlys dispute and the major powers. JATI - JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES, [S.l.], v. 7, p. 137-148, dec. 2002. ISSN 2600-8653. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 may 2019.