Old Map of the Philippines in year 1628 showing the Reed Bank (an area just East of the Spratly islands) as part of the Philippines.

Ancient Maps spark debate between China and Philippines over South China Sea islands

(Read the article on one page)

The Chinese government claims ninety percent of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, an archipelago of 750 islands and reefs nearer the Philippines. However, a series of ancient maps have drawn this claim into question. The government of the Philippines says Beijing is overreaching in claiming territory so far south of the island of Hainan, which historical maps show to be southernmost China, far north of the Spratly archipelago.

The Nine Dash Line in the Wikimedia Commons map below shows how much of the South China Sea China claims for itself.

A Filipino judge examined maps going back hundreds of years and said the southernmost China limit  historically was the island of Hainan, which is at the top of this map (above) far to the northwest.

A Filipino judge examined maps going back hundreds of years and said the southernmost China limit  historically was the island of Hainan, which is at the top of this map (above) far to the northwest. The bottom of China’s Nine Dash Line extends almost to Malaysia, 1,200 miles (1,931 km) south.

One map in particular, from 1136 A.D., that was engraved in stone clearly shows Hainan as the southern limit of China.

Rubbing of an 1136 A.D. map engraved in stone showing Hainan (at the bottom of the map) as the southern limit of China

Rubbing of an 1136 A.D. map engraved in stone showing Hainan (at the bottom of the map) as the southern limit of China ( South China Morning Post image of map submitted to the U.N. )

"All these ancient maps show that since the first Chinese maps appeared, the southernmost territory of China has always been Hainan Island, with its ancient names being Zhuya, then Qiongya, and thereafter Qiongzhou," said Philippines Senior Supreme Court Judge Antonio Carpio last year when the dispute made news.

Carpio calls the Nine-Dash Line by which China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea a “giant historical fraud.”

The Philippines filed a 4,000-page territory dispute over China’s claims of the South China Sea with the United Nations. Last June, China refused to defend its claims to the sea in a U.N court. The Chinese government said it does not recognize international jurisdiction over its dispute with the Philippines.

PhilSTAR.com said China snubbed the U.N. on a December 15, 2014, deadline to defend itself in the matter before the court. The online paper called the sea the West Philippine Sea.

A China official seemed to indicate China would defend its area with force if necessary.

"The Chinese side will have to make necessary response to any intentional and provocative action unilaterally initiated by relevant party," said China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang on December 15, 2014.

Carpio said in June 2014 the Philippines intends to establish China has no historical claim to the region even though “historical facts” cannot be invoked under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea because China said it would make war to defend its claim.

The Philippines started its case with the U.N. tribunal in March 2014 after aggressive action by Chinese forces on fishermen.

“On March 9, Chinese coast guard vessels drove away two Philippine ships from Ayungin Shoal, preventing them to re-supply a small group of Filipino soldiers guarding the maritime feature. In January, the Chinese coast guard also fired water cannons at Filipino fishermen on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, also called Bajo de Masinloc,” philSTAR.com said in its December article .

Ancient maps of the East Indies, which the Philippines were part of, show the small shoal, about the size of three rugby pitches west of the Philippines. The shoal has potential fossil fuel reserves and valuable fisheries.

A 1770 map by Britain's Royal Hydrographer shows the Panacot Shoal, now called Scarborough Shoal. “Panacot” is a Filipino name in the Tagalog language.

A 1770 map by Britain's Royal Hydrographer shows the Panacot Shoal, now called Scarborough Shoal. “Panacot” is a Filipino name in the Tagalog language. ( National Library of Australia, as published by Quartz.com .)

“China has held control of the shoal since 2012, leading to clashes between Filipino and Chinese fisherman and an ongoing arbitration case at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. Elsewhere in the disputed area, China appears to be building an airbase and a kindergarten, raising the risk of further tensions,” reports Quartz .

The documents and maps submitted by the Philippines to the international tribunal quoted a 1986 judgment of the International Court of Justice, which said, “Maps merely constitute information which varies in accuracy from case to case; of themselves, and by virtue solely of their existence, they cannot constitute a territorial title.”

Vietnam also claims part of the South China Sea. Vietnamese call the sea the East Sea because it is just off the eastern coast of that country.

Featured image: Old Map of the Philippines in year 1628 showing the Reed Bank (an area just East of the Spratly islands) as part of the Philippines. ( Image Source )

Comments

rbflooringinstall's picture

Well China just owns everything don't they.

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

Part I of 2)
Historical ownership is not a determining factor in modern history, for example if that was the case then native americans can claim back their territories in North America.

UNCLOS is only an agreement between parties, it may be amended if it doesn't work. It in fact has problem areas, such as assigning an EEZ disproportionate to a land feature, wherein the EEZ area far exceeds the land area that generates the EEZ.

The present issues seen in East China Sea partly involve this issue of disproportionate EEZ.Similarly, in South China Sea, disproportionate EEZ is also an underlying factor in the disputes.

So UNCLOS may have to be amended to eliminate the source of conflicts stemming from the disproportionate EEZ problem.

Part II of 2.
EEZ (UNCLOS'94) does not create or extinguish ownership of land features. If that was possible, Britain would own parts of France, and vice versa.

With this in mind, Scarborough Shoals (SS) is an interesting case, because if China owns it, then Philippines's EEZ can not extend over SS, Similarly SS, if it is assigned an EEZ, that EEZ can not extend onto the island of Luzon, in which case a median EEZ dividiing line has to be drawn between SS and Luzon, so that each side take an equal share of the available space.

It belongs to China
“The Scarborough Shoal is OUTSIDE THE LIMITS set by the Treaty of Paris for Philippine territory.” What exactly was the territory Philippine declared independence from the US in 1946? Why is it that NONE of Philippine constitutions, past and present, from 1899, 1935, 1943, 1973, 1986 and 1987, include either the Spratlys or the Scarborough Shoal within Philippine declared national territory? Where, or from whom, did Philippine, all of a sudden, acquire title to these? Out of thin air?

All official maps published by the Philippines until the 1990s excluded both the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal from its territorial boundaries. Philippine own Republic Act No. 3046, passed by Philippine Congress and approved in 1961, stopped Philippine from its claim. Yet, Philippine had the temerity to amend this law on March 10, 2009, after 48 long years, to unilaterally include the disputed territories.

1898 Treaty of Paris between the US and Spain, the 1900 Treaty of Washington between Spain and the US, and the 1930 Treaty between Great Britain and the US, all limiting Philippine territorial limits to the 118th degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich.

It does not belong to china. China's territory is in mainland china, not in the Malay Archipeligo. The Nine-Dash Line claim is a fraud. Stop stealing territories belong to other countries.

Stop stealing? Like how Philippines is illegally claiming Sabah based on bogus historical claims
Stop crying when Philippines is practicing massive amount of hypocrisy

Historical ownership is not a determining factor in modern history, for example if that was the case then native americans can claim back their territories in North America.

UNCLOS is only an agreement between parties, it may be amended if it doesn't work. It in fact has problem areas, such as assigning an EEZ disproportionate to a land feature, wherein the EEZ area far exceeds the land area that generates the EEZ.

The present issues seen in East China Sea partly involve this issue of disproportionate EEZ.Similarly, in South China Sea, disproportionate EEZ is also an underlying factor in the disputes.

So UNCLOS may have to be amended to eliminate the source of conflicts stemming from the disproportionate EEZ problem.

Anthony is not using his God-given brains or he has a dishonest agenda. China has no legitimate claim on the Spratly Islands or the Scarborough Shoal, either historically or present day. China steals what it cannot obtain by fraud, and concerning the Spratly Islands and more, it says, "I want it so I am going to take it." We need a fair and equitable way of determining who owns what. The area should be divided right down the middle between the nations involved. Sorry, China, but you are not in the picture at all. Go home, you pirate thieves.

Legality has nothing to do with it. They are just taking a page out of how things are done (in the past) and are still being done by other countries such as Russia, England, France and the United States and others. All any government of any country has to say is their NATIONAL INTEREST is under threat and they take the appropriate action deemed to secure their National Interest.

Just as the Russians are in the Ukraine, they are never going to leave unless there is war.

Same with China. They have done it. They will never leave.

Did you notice that the 5 countries that I just mentioned are the Charter members of the United Nations having veto power, the world’s largest producers and exporters for the ‘tools’ of war.

Just where was the legality of the Afghanistan invasion and ongoing occupation.

Just where was the legality of the invasions of Iraq.

Just where is the legality of the present foreign powers military actions in Syria.

Was the Korean war legal. On, sorry that was a ‘legal sanctioned POLICE ACTION’ of the United Nations.

Was the Vietnam war legal.

Really the list is very long in regards to the legality of a number of invasions, incursions, military assistance, covert operations, etc over the last 50-100 years and longer by a number of ‘nations’
.
If you have something that someone else wants. They are going to take it no matter what ’you’ say.

But, I do agree with you. That ‘we’ really do did to come up with something different to address all of the world’s geo-political matters. Otherwise we can all just kiss our collective ass’s good-bye.

Perhaps we could start by stop pointing the finger of blame. Keep our collective noses out of other peoples business instead of the attitude that we are all knowing, we are all powerful, only we have the answer. Look at our own actions and behaviour or lack there of.

The Chinese are not the only ‘pirates’ as you put it. Your country is properly a pirate as well, as is mine.

Encroachment would be the proper term I think, and all Governments throughout the ages have done this even to thier own Poeple. Unfortunately they will always continue to do this and even cycles of drastic measures can only reset it to start over again. Power and Greed...it’s the nature of Mankind, it’s what we do.

Don’t know if you saw it, but I finally got the chance to reply back to your great reply about the Northern Legends Gord. Thanks!

Greetings once again;

Thanks for this comment. Yep folks been doing this for ever it would appear no matter what we call it or the intent. At times I have to wonder if this is all 'normal' behaviour of us critters as some people believe and would have/like me to believe not only here at this site but out there in the wider world.

If this is 'normal' behaviour and is to continue to be normal behaviour then it becomes more and more obvious to myself that I just might not be a homo sapien sapien. If that is the case not really sure 'what' I AM. ;) LOL

I came across your other reply to by past comment on Thursday. My thanks. Been a busy week at my clinic and have had to prepare a number of reports for certain powers that be. I will try and post ASAP.

Also there where a couple of comments/posts that I had to reply to as there are certain comments that I will not slide by with out immediately commenting on.

Being dyslexic and although over the decades I have developed a number of ways to address and help, which has helped a lot in reducing the 'mistakes' I make, you would not believe how long it can take me at times to prepare, write or type anything out.

I am putting together a little bit more of a reply to your other comment today as time permits. Have some gardening to get done today. Summers gone, fall's in the air, winter just around the corner.

Until then, all the best.

Have you considered registering as a Basic Member here in the “Forums”? It would give us a chance to connect on the sidelines without giving out any Private Contact information in the Puplic Article blog area here.

Hello J.R.Bentley. I have thought of it in the past. There have been times with others that I would have liked to do that. But at the moment I am not sure. I will take a look at things and decide, perhaps. My thanks for asking though.

It’s pretty dead over there but I did because there are a few great topics like “Myths and lengends” I would like to share in soon and get some discussion moving in there. But mostly for the practicality of the “Contact Button” and Registration is anonymous. It’s another whole site of it’s own and should be utilized. Thanks for considering it...be nice to have some discussion with great minds off the main presentation Blog also.

I’m digging this site and would like to get to know some of the folks around here better without feeling like I am messing up the Topic content of the presentation articles on the main board with off topic discussion, maybe even use a smiley once in awhile! Folks tend to be a little less “reserved” in a Forum environment like that.

Gord, I agree with you. All nations of any power have dirty laundry and China is not the only guilty party. But as China is the latest bully and thief, I find it easy to (rightly) point the finger of blame. But I have other reasons as well. The Philippines is dear to my heart as my wife comes from there, and I enjoy the country. I do not like to see the Philippines walked on. In addition to that, I am increasingly unhappy with China for theft of trade secrets, fraud, counterfeit products, patent violations, bootleg products, extremely shoddy merchandise, currency and market manipulation, spying on our military and technology secrets, extreme belligerence, and building its military with the aim of taking over much of the world. The country is showing no honor, for a nation bent on conquest has no honor. Yes, China is following the pattern of other conquering nations of the past, but it has honed theft and belligerence to a fine art. These are the reasons I find fault with China.

It is important note that The Philippine only began their claims in the late 1990s.

Wrong! Stop spreading chinese lies. China's territory is in mainland china, not in the Malay Archipelago. The nine-dash line cliam is a fraud.

UNCLOS extinguished all historical rights of other states within the 200 NM EEZ of the adjacent coastal state. That is why this 200 NM zone is called “EXCLUSIVE” – no state other than the adjacent coastal state can exploit economically its resources. Fishing rights that other states historically enjoyed within the EEZ of the adjacent coastal state automatically terminated upon the effectivity of UNCLOS. Moreover, UNCLOS prohibits states from making any reservation or exception to UNCLOS unless expressly allowed by UNCLOS. Any reservation of claims to “historical rights” over the EEZor ECS of another coastal state is prohibited because UNCLOS does not allow a state to claim “historical rights”to the EEZ or ECS of another state. In short, UNCLOS does not recognize “historical rights” as basis for claiming the EEZs or ECS's of other states.

Credit: Justice Carpio

So how is Philippines making a "historical" claim over Sabah maybe Philippines should recognise Malaysia's sovereignty otherwise all your words mean nothing.
Its true in ALL international laws Historical rights have been replaced and not recognised by international courts however power always trumps laws like how the USA regularly breaks laws to suit itself so China will also ignore laws it does not like

Sorry to add China will ignore the "laws" as it sees fit as it has the worlds largest treasury allowing it to be the banker of the USA and Europe so who will stop them?
Who will police them? Neither the USA nor Europe has the will or the ability to stop them so saying "such and such law says blah blah" makes no difference

North Borneo Sabah belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu. It was leased to a British Corporation and illegally transferred to Malaysia under a fraudulent plebiscite!

Sabah does not belong to the sultanate of Sulu even if you want to believe that in your tiny head.

Sulu gave the territory up many times

If you used your head you would understand that simple fact Sabah was given up by Spain (by whose authority you claim Sulu in the first place) and it was SOLD to the British in 1903 when the cession was completed. The guy even signed it.

In the original contract Whether in Suluk or English stated clearly the land was pawned to the British company who had it until the sun and moon no longer rose (the end of time) and could be transferred as long as the British consulate in Brunei agreed to it.

By the way Japan conquered the territory in 1942 Sulu never bothered to fight for it so the territory belongs the UK government who fought to take it back you cannot decide what's yours by force then not do anything when someone takes it from you.

The end your pathetic "it was leased" is so old and dis-proven many times over by actual facts

May I call you tinyhead Raj? - Please read well. It is and has always been a lease. Besides there is no such land sale where the buyers pay in "perpetuity". If it were a land sale it would have been a Deed of Absolute Sale. The British Government messed up your minds with false claims. Malaysia's claims to Sabah are fraudulent (by way of fake referendum), dubious (what documents do you hold?) and disputable. Based on Professor K. Tregonning’s book ‘Under Chartered Company Rule’, the use of the term “cession” in those days actually meant “lease” that is, the lease of a territory for a stipulated period of time in consideration of an annual payment. Also at the time, the British North Borneo Co. DOES NOT have the status, nor the mandate of her government to acquire territories by way of sale or colonization on behalf of the British Crown. This charter was conveniently given 3 years AFTER the fact. Thus, rendering this document flawed in form and content, therefore null and void.

The Philippines is confident with its and has been challenging Malaysia since the 1970's to bring this case to the International Court of Justice for proper disposition. It is the same confidence that the country brought its dispute with China to UNCLOS for proper and peaceful settlement.

TRANSLATION BY YALE LAW PROFESSOR HAROLD CONKLIN OF THE DEED OF 1878 IN ARABIC CHARACTERS FOUND BY MR. QUINTERO IN WASHINGTON

Signature of Sultan
Mohammed Jamalul Alam

Official seal of the
Sultan of Sulu

GRANT BY THE SULTAN OF SULU OF A PERMANENT
LEASE COVERING HIS LANDS AND TERRITORIES
ON THE ISLAND OF BORNEO

Dated January 22, 1878

————

"We, Sri Paduka Maulana Al Sultan MOHAMMED JAMALUL ALAM, Son of Sari Paduka Marhum Al Sultan MOHAMMED PULALUM, Sultan of Sulu and of all dependencies thereof, on behalf of ourselves and for our heirs and successors, and with the expressed desire of all Datus in common agreement, do hereby desire to lease, of our own free will and satisfaction, to Gustovus Baron de Overbeck of Hong Kong, and to Alfred Dent, Esquire, of London, who act as representatives of a British Company, together with their heirs, associates, successors, and assigns forever and until the end of time, all rights and powers which we possess over all territories and lands tributary to us on the mainland of the Island of Borneo, commencing from the Pandassan River on the east, and thence along the whole east coast as far as the Sibuku River on the south, and including all territories, on the Pandassan River and in the coastal area, known as Paitan, Sugut, Banggai, Labuk, Sandakan, China-batangan, Mumiang, and all other territories and coastal lands to the south, bordering on Darvel Bay, and as far as the Sibuku River, together with all the islands which lie within nine miles from the coast.

In consideration of this (territorial?) lease, the honorable Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent, Esquire, promise to pay His Highness Maulana Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam and to his heirs and successors, the sum of five thousand dollars annually, to be paid each and every year.

The above-mentioned territories are from today truly leased to Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and to Alfred Dent, Esquire, as already said, together with their heirs, their associates (company) and to their successors and assigns for as long as they choose or desire to use them; but the rights and powers hereby leased shall not be transferred to another nation, or a company of other nationality, without the consent of Their Majesties Government.

Should there be any dispute, or reviving of old grievances of any kind, between us, and our heirs and successors, with Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck or his Company, then the matter will be brought for consideration or judgment to Their Majesties’ Consul-General in Brunei.

Moreover, if His Highness Maulana Al Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam, and his heirs and successors, become involved in any trouble or difficulties hereafter, the said honorable Mr. Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and his Company promise to give aid and advice to us within the extent of their ability.

This treaty is written in Sulu, at the Palace of the Sultan Mohammed Jamalul Alam on the 19th day of the month of Muharam, A.H. 1295; that is on the 22nd day of the month of January, year 1878.

Seal of the Sultan
Jamalul Alam

Witness to seal and signature
(Sgd.) W. H. TREACHER
H.B.M. Acting Consul General
in Borneo"

"PADJAK" - This word is the crux of the document.
The official legal term of "pajak" in Malaysian borrowed from Arabic since the genesis of both language to this day has always been L E A S E ! ! !
Example:
- pajak 99 tahun = leasehold for 99 years
- pajak tanah = leasing a piece of land
- pajak pokok = leasing a tree normaly for 1 fruit seasons
Now, you guys want to misconstrue the language and invent a new definition for it to mean "SALE" or "CESSION" so you could grab the land?
Show me relevant a Malaysian or Arabic documents where "pajak" meant sale ?

Raj, you are right, power always trumps laws, and right now China is a lawless nation. Right also that the USA is not totally innocent. We did some dirty deeds in the past, all in the name of big business. But that does not excuse China or any other nation of exercising theft and bullying.

EEZ (UNCLOS'94) does not create or extinguish ownership of land features. If that was possible, Britain would own parts of France, and vice versa.

With this in mind, Scarborough Shoals (SS) is an interesting case, because if China owns it, then Philippines's EEZ can not extend over SS, Similarly SS, if it is assigned an EEZ, that EEZ can not extend onto the island of Luzon, in which case a median EEZ dividiing line has to be drawn between SS and Luzon, so that each side take an equal share of the available space.

interested to get updates...

Hi Guys! I've been reading all of the comments here and sad to think that by looking at the arguments, the only thing that can solve this could only be WAR, (I salute the veteran Generals now who are trying to talk this over and don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past who killed 200 million innocent civilians because of war) If CHINA will not honor the result filed by the Philippines against them this could end to violence and I wish we can end this peacefully for the future of our daughters and all of the children who wants to live peacefully.

I can see that the Chinese are all brainwashed by their culture and is now not thinking straight. They don't think if what they are doing is good or bad as long as they can get what they want. China is claiming all and that is not right! They are basing it using History. The Philippines gave evidence and proofs using international law and History that the Chinese 9 dash line is a bullshit, but what is CHINA's answer? NONE!! Common sense CHINA, you are too far from this islands and the reason why we have LAWS is to maintain peace and order! They are now acting like Nazi Germany, or very close to it now. China just want it all because of the rich resources it possesses, basically, that's it. You are selfish and greedy. The south China sea doesn't mean that it is owned by CHINA because it has the word CHINA on it. Does the INDIAN SEA owned by INDIA? NO! Because INDIA is following the international LAW which helps not to spread the Greediness and the CANCER to other countries to end the WORLD!

Why would it lead to war? The Philippines does not have the ability to go to war and China is playing it as if there will be no war they are taking what they want slowly.

First of all your comment that "China is claiming all and that is not right! They are basing it using History"

Is hypocritical the Philippines is also using false facts to claim Mindanao and taking what they want there also to my own understanding Philippines when China was weak took and claimed Islands willy nilly of what anyone else thought. So now China has power it is not allowed to do what Philippines had been doing before?

What evidence did Philippines produce? An old map? Explain why did Japan after the sino Japanese war claim those Islands but was not at war with Spain who owned Philippines at that time. Why did Spain not say anything? Is it because China was claiming those Islands?

International law was invented by old white men who fail to abide by those laws themselves so why should anyone follow them?
Note this when you have power you can do anything you want Philippines did this.

You talk about Chinese being brain washed but Filipinos have the same problem same with anywhere people being brainwashed by nationalistic morons who think they are always right (I agree Chinese are brainwashed but so are your people).

China is claiming the Islands and territory for wealth yes but also because they believe those territories were taken off them by the European racists.
Philippines is illegally claiming Sabah in violation of international law and norms and refuses to recognize the will of the people of Sabah for the sake of greed.

Be honest you are critical of China but ignore Philippines own sins

India has a different form of government to China and you are right just because its called South China sea does not mean its owned by China.

The term you were looking for was Indian Ocean

As a side note I agree with you about the 9 dash line but would the Philippines have been so "law abiding" had it the power to project itself abroad? (Think about Philippines greedy politicians not its kind people)

You're brainwashed by your malaysian government to believe that North Borneo issue has been resolved. But it was not. Remember that Manila Accord reserve the issue to be resolved peacefully. Hence, malaysia is not the owner of North Borneo.

Its true, I really hope mindanao, Palawan, Sulu (MinSuPala) gets indepenence from Philippines (slave of King Philip II) if not, granted Autonomous region of BangsaMoro (minsupala).

Malaysia and Indonesia should help Mindanao and Palawan through Education.

Rust..., I have one for you. China stands for Crime Headquarters In Asia.

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