Thanks to the lighthousememories web site and Skyscrapercity we have images so very typical of the Scarborough Shoals.
Called the Panatag Shoals in the Tagalog.
A "land mass" WITHIN the Chinese "nine dash line" a point of contention, a punador [point of honor] between the Philippines and China.
A "land mass" as claimed by both nations as sovereign territory.
A "land mass" you be the judge of IS IT worth fighting over.
Of course it is not the "land mass" above the water line that is at stake here. It is the contiguous waters valuable fishing grounds and the believed and possible natural gas and oil deposits as to be found under the oceanic bottom as desired by all parties involved.
A shoal flying from that itty-bitty chunk of rock is the Filipino flag. According to the caption this is Scarborough at low tide!!
From the web site article "The Lighthouse as a Sovereignty Symbol" we find: [and thanks to John in all cases]
"But build a lighthouse and claim ownership and that light is visible to all peoples for years into the future. Build it high enough and it is visible for 360 degrees. Put some men on it and it becomes your property. Hmmm!"
Here the Filipino military raising the colors, perhaps from several decades ago?
And also thanks to an authority in such matters:
"To me, sovereignty consisted of having a military strong enough to uphold one's claim to territory somewhere. All else fails."
NOT ONLY having claims, legitimate or otherwise, but an ability to gain actual physical control, occupation and then continue to exercise your dominion, using force if necessary or the threat of same to keep "all comers" away.
Sounds harsh, archaic and brutal but that is what is!
And believe me, we have not heard the last of the South China Sea, the Spratly Islands, Scarborough or the Paracels. Far from it.