- Itu Aba Island
name = Itu Aba Island
native name = Taiping Islnad (太平島)
South East Asia
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 kmin length and 0.4 km in width. It is part of the Tizard Bank (Zheng He Reefs) one of seven reefsin 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 Philippinesand Vietnamalso 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 Indochinaofficial 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" [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/taiwan/taiping.htm] .
The island was claimed by
Franceas part of French Indochinain 1887 and first occupied on 10 April1930.
World War II, it was invaded by Japan and converted to a submarinebase. 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
12 December1946, the island was placed under the administration of China's GuangdongProvince.
In 1952, a Philippine civilian began to mine sulfur from Itu Aba and that same year, a note attached to the
Treaty of Taipeiprovided for Taiwanese sovereignty over the island.
Presently a detachment of the
Coast Guard Administrationis stationed at this island, replacing a Republic of China Marine Corpsdetachment 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
airstripon the island. In 2005 Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a representative to Taiwanand requested the Republic of China to stop the construction. In early 2006, Taiwan announced it would continue with its plans [ [http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2006/01/06/2003287638 "MND admits strategic value of Spratly airstrip."] " Taipei Times". 6 January2006. p. 2] and the airstrip was completed in December 2007. A C-130 Herculestransporter airplane first landed on the island on 21 January2008. On 2 February2008, Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bianpersonally 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. [http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2008/02/03/2003400014 "President visits disputed islands."] " Taipei Times". 3 February2008. 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
petroleumand natural gasbeneath the South China Sea.
Although there are no long term inhabitants on the island, Itu Aba is administered under the Central municipality of
KaohsiungCity by the Taiwanese. Postal service is provided by Taiwan Postwith 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.
South China Sea
South China Sea Islands
* Dongsha Islands or
List of islands of the Republic of China
* [http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&t=k&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=112047810770307867127.0004460b96d655257cc9c&ll=10.377739,114.366946&spn=0.018743,0.040169&z=15 Satellite image of Itu Aba by Google Maps]
* [http://home.arcor.de/be/bethge/states.htm Putative States in the Spratly Archipelago]
* [http://vm.nthu.edu.tw/southsea/english.travel2_2.htm Ecological Resources]
* [http://vm.nthu.edu.tw/southsea/english.travel2.htm Itu Aba]
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