"Most international law experts believe that China's so-called "indisputable sovereignty" over its maritime claim in the South China Sea has little merit, and is illegal under the United Convention on the Law of the Sea. The United States said that China's expansive claim increases the risk of confrontation, undermines regional stability, and dims the prospects for diplomacy, and paved the way for "US pivot" to Pacific. Philippines declares the claim is illegal and violates Philippines' and other nations' sovereign rights under UNCLOS. The Vietnamese president said that it has no legal foundation and scientific basis and rejected China's assertion. China defends its claim citing historical basis, most of which were taken from its imperial archives and ancient records. It has recently intensified its claim in the South China Sea which many believe to be a "gunboat diplomacy" against its weaker maritime neighbors.
South China Sea is composed of three main areas: Spratlys, (the biggest); Paracel, (the next biggest); and Scarborough Shoal (the smallest). All of them are being claimed by People's Republic of China and Taiwan. Spratlys is also being claimed partly by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia; Scarborough by the Philippines; and Paracel by Vietnam."