A timeline of disputes in the Spratly Islands
The Spratly Islands occupied by Japan and used as a submarine base during the Second World
At the San Francisco conference, Japan renounces all rights to the Spratly Islands. No
resolution is made on who owns them.
China occupies Paracel Islands to the north of the Spratly Islands (see the location of
the Spratly Islands map), taking them from South Vietnam.
China occupies six atolls in the Spratly Islands, taking them from Vietnam.
Chinese and Vietnamese navies clash at Johnson Reef (see the Spratly Islands map). Two
Vietnamese gunboats are sunk and seventy people die. China still occupies the reef.
Indonesia organises the first of its annual informal meetings (The South China Sea
Workshop) of the six claimants to the Spratly Islands to find a peaceful solution to the
dispute. Malaysia begins to develop a reef for tourism.
ASEAN nations and China call for restraint in pursuit of territorial claims in the Spratly
The US oil giant Exxon signs a US$35 billion deal to develop the gas fields north of
Natuna Island. This area is partly claimed by China.
8 February 1995
The Philippines's armed forces discover Chinese-constructed concrete markers on Mischief
Reef, within 200 kilometres of Palawan Island, in the Philippines.
20-28 March 1995
The Philippines seize Chinese fishing boats and crew, and destroy Chinese markers on
31 March 1995
Taiwanese naval mission of armed patrol boats to the Spratly Islands is called off midway
to its destination.
7 April 1995
Indonesia expresses concern over Chinese maps claiming sovereignty over part of the huge
Natuna gas fields to the south of the Spratly Islands.
The Philippines's armed forces discover more heavy Chinese-construction sites on Mischief
Reef, within 200 kilometres of Palawan Island, in the Philippines
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©Rigby Heinemann 1995
created: 18 September 1995
revised: 18 September 1995