Island disputes in Asia

Here is a look at some of the places where the question of national sovereignty is raising tensions:

Dokdo (South Korea); Takeshima (Japan) islands

South Korea controls the islets, which are inhabited by a handful of residents and guarded by a small South Korean police detachment. They are in an area known for rich fishing. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the islets in August, a first by a South Korean leader, inflaming relations with Japan.

Yeonpyeong Island
(North and South Korea)

In November 2010, North Korea fired shells at a military base here, killing two marines and two civilians. South Korea controls the island, which is about seven miles from the North Korean mainland. Roughly 1,700 South Koreans live there.

Diaoyu (China); Senkaku (Japan); Tiaoyutai (Taiwan)

Japan controls the uninhabited islands, but they are claimed by China and Taiwan. In September, Japan's government said it would pay the Japanese family that owns the rocky land $26.2 million. China responded by increasing maritime patrols, radioing Japanese boats that "Diaoyu is China's territory."

Scarborough Shoal

China, the Philippines and Taiwan claim this 60-square-mile collection of islets. More than 500 miles from China and 140 miles from the Philippines, the shoal is within a 200-nautical-mile "exclusive economic zone" provided for by the U.N Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Spratly Islands

China, Taiwan and Vietnam claim all of the islands, while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim a portion. Reed Bank, the site of large oil and gas reserves inside the islands, is 85 nautical miles from Palawan, Phillipines, and about 600 nautical miles from the Chinese mainland.

SOURCES: Staff and wire reports; wire photos. Graphic by Bill Webster - The Washington Post. Published Oct. 4, 2012.

South Korea makes a point about its claim on disputed islands

South China Sea

On two tiny volcanic islands, the show of Korean control is pushed to extremes.

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