Essentially, even though mainland China is some 500 miles away from the Spratly Islands
, China's nine-dash line cuts deep into the sea and abuts the coasts of the other countries.
The tribunal ruled that China's land reclamation and construction of artificial islands in the Spratly Islands
after the arbitration was commenced, violated the obligations UNCLOS places on states to refrain from conduct that aggravates and extends a dispute while dispute resolution proceedings are pending.
Using the Chinese name for the Spratly islands
, she added: "China asserts indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters, and China's activities on relevant islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands fall entirely within China's sovereignty and are totally justifiable.
China claims the Spratly Islands
along with nearly all of the South China Sea, which contains vital sea routes and is also believed to hold large mineral resources.
It is home to a myriad of competing territorial claims including the Spratly Islands
and the Scarborough Shoal.
China has over the last year been beefing up its patrols around the Spratly Islands
, which are claimed in whole by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, and in part by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
The Spratly Islands
are believed to sit on top of oil and gas reserves.
China described the disputed Spratly Islands
in the South China Sea and surrounding waters as a core national interest in its economic and security dialogue with the United States in May 2010, when U.
China dispatched the largest ever fishing fleet, consisting of a 3,000-tonne supply ship, a protective patrol vessel and 28 other ships, to the disputed Spratly Islands
in the South China Sea for a five to-ten day fishing expedition.
Senator Francis Escudero cautioned the presidential palace against invoking the provisions of the 1951 US-Philippine Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) in the territorial dispute with the Beijing government without carefully studying its provisions in light of a statement by a palace aide, who said yesterday that Washington will help the country should the row over the Spratly Islands
of Otago, New Zealand) provide a comparative exploration of how conflict management has been applied to four longstanding conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region: divided Korea, the Taiwan Strait, the disputed Spratly Islands
, and India-Pakistan.
The Spratly Islands
archipelago of about 100 reefs, islets and islands occupies less than five square kilometres and spread over more than 400,000 square kilometres of sea between the Philippines and Vietnam.