The Spratly Islands are a group of 100 small islands, islets, and reefs in the South China sea. They are located between Vietnam, the Philippines, and East Malaysia. Though only comprised of 2 square miles (5.2 square kilometers) and spread across 158,000 square miles (400,000 square kilometers) of the South China Sea, these islands are of strategic importance. Ownership is contested by Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Oil fields that yield nearly 15 percent of the petroleum used by the Philippines have been the center of the dispute. Each country feels that it should be able to negotiate and profit from the lucrative contracts and benefits that oil exploration and production might bring.