April 28, 2020

Recently, China unilaterally renamed 80 islands, reefs and other geographical features around the Spratly and Paracel Islands (in South China Sea) with Chinese names, drawing criticism from neighbouring countries who have also laid claim to the same territory.

Spratly Islands dispute:

  • There has been an ongoing territorial dispute between China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia concerning the ownership of the Spratly Islands archipelago and nearby geographical features like corals reefs, cays etc. in the South China Sea.

  • Although the Spratly Islands are largely uninhabited, there is a possibility that they may have large reserves of untapped natural resources including Oil.

Paracel Islands dispute:

  • The Paracel Islands archipelago is a collection of 130 islands and coral reefs and is located in the South China Sea, almost equidistant from China and Vietnam.

  • Since 2012, China, Taiwan and Vietnam have attempted to reinforce their claims on the territory by engaging in construction of government administrative buildings, tourism, land reclamation initiatives and by establishing and expanding military presence on the archipelago.