Disputes in the South China Sea
1988, March - China sinks three Vietnamese vessels near the Spratly Islands, killing more than 70 Vietnamese.
1991 - China passes the Law on Territorial Waters and Their Contiguous Areas, laying out its claim to territorial sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
1995, 1999 - The Philippines discovers Chinese constructions on Mischief Reef, an island located in the Spratly Island chain. Despite efforts to resolve the dispute, more structures are found on the reef in 1999. Manila says the structures are a military installation while Beijing says they are for fishermen.
2002 - China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations sign a non-binding Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
2009, March – Chinese ships and fishermen harass a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea. According to the Pentagon, the Chinese vessels harassed the Impeccable, about 120 kilometers off Hainan island, south of China.
2011, May – Chinese vessels cut an exploration cable on a Vietnamese oil survey ship in waters, within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.
2011, June - The Philippines complains that Chinese ships offloaded building materials and erected marker posts on reefs to the west of its island of Palawan, within Manila's exclusive economic zone.