Hughes Reef (Chinese: 东门礁; pinyin: Dōngmén jiāo, Vietnamese: đá Tư Nghĩa) is a reef in Union Banks in the Spratly group of islands, South China Sea claimed by the PRC (China), the ROC (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It is only above water at low tide.[1]

The PRC has reclaimed land on the reef, bringing its area to 7.6 hectares, and occupied the reef.[2] The reef has a lighthouse[3] on top of a two storied defence outpost.[4]

Geographical features

On 12 July 2016, the tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration concluded that Hughes Reef is, or in its natural condition was, exposed at low tide and submerged at high tide and, accordingly, its low-tide elevations do not generate an entitlement to a territorial sea, exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.[5]

Military development

In late 2016, photographs emerged which suggested that Hughes Reef has been armed with anti-aircraft weapons and a CIWS missile-defence system.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Digital Gazetteer of the Spratly Islands". www.southchinasea.org. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hughes reef tracker". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  3. ^ "Lighthouses maintained by China". Lighthouses of the Spratly Islands. University of North Carolina. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Photo : Hughes reef outpost and lighthouse". Panoromio. 24 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Award" (PDF). Permanent Court of Arbitration. 12 July 2016.  p.174
  6. ^ "China's New Spratly Island Defenses". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2016-12-17.