Here yet one more point of contention in the South China Sea. Land "mass" barely visible above the waterline and yet having a strategic location of importance and also claimed by multiple parties as sovereign territory! As of yet NOT a controversial item, geopolitical machinations seemed to have passed beyond the Pratas islands. SO FAR!
"The Pratas Islands, also called Dongsha Islands . . . consist of three islands forming from an atoll located in northeastern South China Sea, 340 km (211 mi) southeast of Hong Kong. The islands are governed by the Republic of China (Taiwan). The People's Republic of China [PRC] claims sovereignty over these islands along with all other territories currently controlled by the Republic of China [Taiwan]"
Pratas/Dongsha in the upper right hand corner! That box labeled Zhongsha also referred to as the Macclesfield Bank not even the smallest portion of which "land" above the waterline totally submerged yet claimed by the Chinese.
These islands too barely above the waterline during low tide occupied by the Japanese military during the Second World War [WW2].
"Japanese Naval personnel occupied Pratas Island during World War II. The Japanese Navy utilized Pratas Island as a weather station and listening outpost until May 29, 1945 when a landing party consisting of Australian Commandos and US naval personnel from the USS Bluegill SS242 raised the US flag and declared the Island as a United States territory and named it Bluegill Island . . . The Islands were later restored to the Republic of China's Guangdong Province."
The Pratas Islands at one time AMERICAN CONQUERED TERRITORY! Restored to the Republic of China in the aftermath of the war after a period of United Nations mandate.
Islands unoccupied and perhaps uninhabitable [no fresh water], guano islands but possessing a landing strip. Territory claimed as by both mainland China and Taiwan, the latter currently and generally recognized as the sovereign ruling authority!
Pratas also during WW2 used as a seaplane base by the Japanese?
The United States having a bilateral defense treaty with Taiwan as it does with Japan and the Philippines! Confrontation between mainland China and Taiwan over these insignificant land specks requiring a legally obligated response by the United States.