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Second Thomas Shoal : Submerged Reef

Second Thomas Shoal: Submerged Reef

A recent incident in the Second Thomas Shoal area, renewed global interest in the flashpoint between the Philippines and China.

  • Second Thomas Shoal is a submerged reef located in the Spratly Islands in South China Sea.
  • It is low-tide elevation located within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
  • The Philippines first took possession of the Second Thomas Shoal in the late 1990s, setting an outpost on the drowned BRP Sierra Madre.
  • It continues to maintain its presence there and the ship serves as a military outpost, manned by a small contingent of troops.
  • The Second Thomas Shoal lies about 108 nautical miles (200 km) from the Philippine island of Palawan.
  • China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, based on the historical and controversial Nine-dash line.
  • China’s claims cut into the EEZs of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
  • In 2013, the Philippines had filed a case against China with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, challenging the legality of China’s claims and activities in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal.
  • The court ruled in favour of the Philippines in 2016, but China rejected the judgment.