Table 7

Table 7. Recent Military Clashes in the South China Sea

Date Countries  Military Action
1974 China, S. Vietnam Chinese seize Paracel Islands from S. Vietnamese forces
1988 China, Vietnam Chinese and Vietnamese navies clash in the central Spratly Islands. Several Vietnamese boats are sunk and over 70 sailors killed.
1992 China, Vietnam Vietnam accuses China of drilling for oil in Vietnamese waters in the Gulf of Tonkin, and accuses China of landing troops on Da Luc Reef. China seizes almost 20 Vietnamese cargo ships transporting goods from Hong Kong from June – September.
1994 China, Vietnam China and Vietnam have naval confrontations within territorial waters claimed by Vietnam over oil exploration blocks 133, 134, and 135. Chinese claim area as part of their Wan’ Bei-21 (WAB-21) block. 
1995 China, Philippines China occupies Vietnamese and Philippine-claimed Mischief Reef. Philippine military attempts to evict the Chinese and destroy Chinese markers. Chinese workers soon return to construct piers and barracks. 
1995 Taiwan, Vietnam Taiwanese artillery fire on Vietnamese supply ship.
1996 China, Philippines In January, three alleged Chinese vessels engage in a 90-minute gun battle with a Philippine navy gunboat near Campones Island.
1997 China, Philippines  The Philippine navy orders a Chinese speedboat and two fishing boats to leave Scarborough Shoal in April; Philippine fishermen remove Chinese markers and raise their flag. China sends three warships to survey Philippine-occupied Panata and Kota Islands
1998 China, Philippines  In January, the Philippine navy arrests Chinese fishermen off Scarborough Shoal.
1998 Philippines, Vietnam In January, Vietnamese soldiers fire on a Philippine fishing boat near Tennent (Pigeon) Reef.
Source: “South China Sea Region,” United States Energy Information Administration, Country Analysis Briefs, August 1998 and Greg Austin, China’s Ocean Frontier: International Law, Military Force, and National Development, Allen & Unwin, 1998

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