Itu Aba Island

Itu Aba Island

Infobox Islands
name = Itu Aba Island
native name = Taiping Islnad (太平島)
location = South East Asia
archipelago = Spratly Islands
country = Republic of China

Itu Aba Island or Taiping Island ( _tl. Ligaw/Ligao; zh-cp|c=太平島|p=Tàipíng Dǎo; _vi. Đảo Ba Bình), is the largest of the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands) in the South China Sea. The island is elliptical in shape being 1.4 km in length and 0.4 km in width. It is part of the Tizard Bank (Zheng He Reefs) one of seven reefs in the Spratly Islands near the centre of the South China Sea.

The island is controlled and governed by the Republic of China (Taiwan). The governments of the People's Republic of China, the Philippines and Vietnam also claim the island. The distance from Taiwan to Taiping Island is about 1,600 km (1,000 miles).


The Vietnamese name for the island is "đảo Ba Bình" (Ba Bình Island), while in Filipino it is called "Ligaw" ("lost" or "wild") Island. The islands were formerly called "Huángshānmǎ Jiāo" (黃山馬礁) or "Huángshānmǎ Zhì" (黃山馬峙) by Chinese fishermen.

During the Japanese occupation of the island of 1939-45, it was known as 長島.

The name most commonly used in English is Itu Aba, from the Malay for "What's that?" (spelled "itu apa" in the current orthography), or said to be named after two Vietnamese maids (Tu and Ba) of a French Indochina official charged with mapping the Spratly Islands. Fact|date=February 2008


The island derives its Chinese name from the battle ship "Taiping" ("peace") sent to recover the island after Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. On other western navigation maps, the island is named "Itu Aba Island" [] .

The island was claimed by France as part of French Indochina in 1887 and first occupied on 10 April 1930.

During World War II, it was invaded by Japan and converted to a submarine base. It was administratively attached to the municipality of Takao (Kaohsiung) in the Japanese colony of Taiwan. Japan renounced its control in 1946 and turned over the island to China.Fact|date=April 2008

On 12 December 1946, the island was placed under the administration of China's Guangdong Province.

In 1952, a Philippine civilian began to mine sulfur from Itu Aba and that same year, a note attached to the Treaty of Taipei provided for Taiwanese sovereignty over the island.

Presently a detachment of the Coast Guard Administration is stationed at this island, replacing a Republic of China Marine Corps detachment in 2000. Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau also has employee presence on the island. The total population of the island is about 600 with no civilians.

The government of Taiwan planned to build an airstrip on the island. In 2005 Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a representative to Taiwan and requested the Republic of China to stop the construction. In early 2006, Taiwan announced it would continue with its plans [ [ "MND admits strategic value of Spratly airstrip."] "Taipei Times". 6 January 2006. p. 2] and the airstrip was completed in December 2007. A C-130 Hercules transporter airplane first landed on the island on 21 January 2008. On 2 February 2008, Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian personally visited the island accompanied by a significant naval force including two fleets with Kidd-class destroyer flagships and two submarines. [Shih Hsiu-chuan, Hsu Shao-hsuan, and Jimmy Chuang. [ "President visits disputed islands."] "Taipei Times". 3 February 2008. p. 1.]

Government and politics

The island, along with the rest of the Spratlys, is disputed by four countries on historical, geographic or technical grounds, as well as due to fishing rights, shipping lanes, and the potential of petroleum and natural gas beneath the South China Sea.

Although there are no long term inhabitants on the island, Itu Aba is administered under the Central municipality of Kaohsiung City by the Taiwanese. Postal service is provided by Taiwan Post with under the assigned area code "819". 4 pay phones and internet connection are also available.

Vietnam claims Itu Aba as a district of its Khanh Hoa Province.


Flora and fauna include swallows, papaya plant, coast oak, terminalia trees, lotus leaf tung tree, goodeniaceae, sea lemon, long stem chrysanthemum, long-saddle rattan, gray grass, coconut tree, banana tree, White-tailed Tropical Bird, Sparrow hawk, tropical fish, jelly fish and others.

ee also

* South China Sea
* South China Sea Islands
* Dongsha Islands or Pratas Islands
* List of islands of the Republic of China


External links

* [,114.366946&spn=0.018743,0.040169&z=15 Satellite image of Itu Aba by Google Maps]
* [ Putative States in the Spratly Archipelago]
* [ Ecological Resources]
* [ Itu Aba]
* []

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