The World Factbook (1990)/Spratly Islands


Spratly Islands

World Factbook (1990) Spratly Islands.jpg

See regional map IX


Total area: less than 5 km²; land area: less than 5 km²; includes 100 or so islets, coral reefs, and sea mounts scattered over the South China Sea

Comparative area: undetermined

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 926 km

Maritime claims: undetermined

Disputes: China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim all or part of the Spratly Islands

Climate: tropical

Terrain: flat

Natural resources: fish, guano; oil and natural gas potential

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 100% other

Environment: subject to typhoons; includes numerous small islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs

Note: strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea; serious navigational hazard


Population: no permanent inhabitants; garrisons


Long-form name: none


Overview: Economic activity is limited to commercial fishing and phosphate mining. Geological surveys carried out several years ago suggest that substantial reserves of oil and natural gas may lie beneath the islands; commercial exploitation has yet to be developed.

Industries: some guano mining


Airports: 3 total, 2 usable; none with runways over 2,439 m; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Ports: none; offshore anchorage only

Defense Forces

Note: approximately 50 small islands or reefs are occupied by China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam