Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 684-693.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003243

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Strategic and Spatial Pattern Assessments of Spratly Islands Occupied by Foreign Countries

Kaifu Min1(), Liang Cheng1,2,3,4(), Xiao Zhou1, Nan Xia1, Ning Li1, Manchun Li1,2,3,4   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University//Key Laboratory for Land Satellite Remote Sensing Applications of Ministry of Natural Resources//Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, 210023, China, Nanjing 210023, China
    2.Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing 210023, China
    3.Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    4.Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Novel Software Technology and Industrialization, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2020-02-15 Revised:2020-04-03 Online:2020-07-31 Published:2020-08-11
  • Contact: Liang Cheng;


There are up to 44 islands and reefs illegally occupied by foreign countries in the Spratly Islands, that is a serious threat to China's national security. Therefore, the strategic value of the occupied islands and reefs in the Spratly Islands region should be evaluated. Previous studies concentrate on the period before large-scale construction in the region. Additionally, they lack consideration of the islands development potential. Considering this potential, radiation capacity, and carrying capacity, the present study investigated 26 influence factors, their respective assessment values were calculated. The subjective and objective integrated method was used to determine the weight of each factor. The linear weighting method was used to obtain the evaluation results of the strategic value of 44 islands and reefs occupied by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. The results were spatially interpolated to identify their spatial pattern characteristics. The main results are as follows: 1) The strategic value evaluation of islands and reefs shows the gradient distribution characteristics. The Danwanjiao reef occupied by Malaysia, Nanweidao Island occupied by Vietnam, and Zhongyedao Island occupied by the Philippines are the ones with highest strategic value, and their evaluation values are 100, 98.42, and 97.09, respectively. The islands and reefs with lower strategic value were mainly sandbars and hidden shoals, such as the Orleana Shoal and Bombay Castle, with scores of less than 40. 2) The strategic value, radiation capacity, carrying capacity, and construction potential of islands and reefs all have a multi-core spatial distribution pattern, in which the spatial distribution pattern of their radiation capacity is the "NW-SE band", the areas of highest and high grades extend from northwest to southeast of the study area and decrease to both sides (northeast and southwest). There are two core regions and two secondary core regions in the pattern of radiation capacity. The spatial distribution pattern of carrying capacity shows a "horizontal strip", which decreases from north to south, in which there is one core region and two secondary core regions. There are three core regions and two secondary core regions in the spatial distribution pattern of island potential and strategic value of islands and reefs. 3) Vietnam occupies the most islands and reefs and has a wide spatial distribution. In the spatial distribution pattern of strategic value of islands and reefs, there is one core region and two secondary core regions closely related to Vietnam. Bishengjiao, Liumenjiao, Nanhuajiao, Wumiejiao, and West reefs are occupied by Vietnam and have a great potential for building islands and reefs, as their geographical location is of great strategic significance. Further construction would support the core areas of islands and reefs occupied by Vietnam, which could lead to a pincer attack on China's garrison islands and reefs, thereby requiring close attention.

Key words: Spratly Islands, potential of island construction, occupied by foreign countries, strategic value, spatial pattern

CLC Number: 

  • P74