Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 19 April 2004

Fancy a trip to the Spratley Islands? Now you can ...

Vietnam has just sent a boatload of 60 Vietnamese 'tourists' to these islets, it seems. I doubt very much, though, if tourism is the real objective of the trip to this tiny archipelago even if it does have teeming marine life.

The Spratley Islands are claimed by six nations (Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei), although it seems to me that only four of those (Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei) have any plausible claim, if you judge by the islands' geopgraphic location - see map in linked article above. I am well aware of these claims from the time I lived in Vietnam. The Taiwanese and Chinese claims date from the period immediately following WWII, and those of Malaysia and Brunei date from much more recently. Even for the four I mention it is pretty minimal I'd have thought, given that each is several hundred kilometres distant.

No, the real reason for the interest is the huge reserves of oil and gas which are thought to be there. But, just for amusement's sake, read what Viet Nam News has to say about it.

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