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. there are no reliable estimates of potential reserves. commercial exploitation has yet to be developed.
No indigenous inhabitants note: there are scattered garrisons occupied by personnel of several claimant states
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
Total: 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
Conventional long form: none conventional short form: spratly islands
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 reef; claimants in november 2002 signed the "declaration on the conduct of parties in the south china sea," which has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct"; in march 2005, the national oil companies of china, the philippines, and vietnam signed a joint accord to conduct marine seismic activities in the spratly islands