Paracel Islands


Paracel Islands
Paracel Islands

Introduction Paracel Islands
Background: This archipelago is surrounded by productive fishing grounds and by potential oil and gas reserves. In 1932, French Indochina annexed the islands and set up a weather station on Pattle Island; maintenance was continued by its successor, Vietnam. China has occupied the Paracel Islands since 1974, when its troops seized a South Vietnamese garrison occupying the western islands. The islands are claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Geography Paracel Islands -
Location: Southeastern Asia, group of small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, about one-third of the way from central Vietnam to the northern Philippines
Geographic coordinates: 16 30 N, 112 00 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: NA sq km water: 0 sq km land: NA sq km
Area - comparative: NA
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 518 km
Maritime claims: NA
Climate: tropical
Terrain: mostly low and flat
Elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m highest point: unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m
Natural resources: none
Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: typhoons Environment - current issues: NA
Geography - note: composed of 130 small coral islands and reefs divided into the northeast Amphitrite Group and the western Crescent Group People Paracel Islands
Population: no indigenous inhabitants note: there are scattered Chinese garrisons (July 2002 est.)
Population growth rate: NA Government Paracel Islands
Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Paracel Islands Economy Paracel Islands -
Economy - overview: China announced plans in 1997 to open the islands for tourism. Transportation Paracel Islands
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island being expanded
Airports: 1 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001) Military Paracel Islands Military - note: occupied by China Transnational Issues Paracel Islands
Disputes - international: occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam

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Chinese Xisha Qundao or Hsi-sha Ch'ün-tao Vietnamese Quan Dao Hoang Sa

Group of about 130 small coral islands and reefs, South China Sea, east of central Vietnam and southeast of Hainan Island, China.

The low, barren islands, none of which exceeds 1 sq mi (2.5 sq km) in area, lack fresh water, and there are no permanent human residents. In 1932 the islands were claimed by French Indochina, and Japan occupied some of them during World War II. China, Taiwan, and Vietnam all claim them. In 1974 China assumed control, and they have remained a matter of contention.

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▪ islands, South China Sea
Wade-Giles romanization  Hsi-sha Ch'ün-tao , Pinyin  Xisha Qundao , Vietnamese  Quan Dao Hoang Sa 

      group of about 130 small coral islands and reefs in the South China Sea. They lie about 250 miles (400 km) east of central Vietnam and about 220 miles (350 km) southeast of Hainan Island, China. Apart from a few isolated, outlying islands (Triton in the south, Lincoln in the east), they are divided into the Amphitrite group in the northeast and the Crescent group in the west. The low, barren islands, none of which exceeds 1 square mile (2.5 square km), lack fresh water. Turtles live on the islands, and seabirds have left nests and guano deposits, but there are no permanent human residents.

      China, Taiwan, and Vietnam all claim the archipelago. In 1932 French Indochina announced the annexation of the Paracels and established a weather station there. Japan occupied some of the islands during World War II (1939–45) but later withdrew and, in 1951, renounced its claims there. By 1947 Chinese troops occupied Woody Island, the main island of the Amphitrite group. On Prattle Island, the largest of the Crescent group, the original weather station continued to be operated by French Indochina and its successor, Vietnam. With the political separation of the two Chinas and Vietnams, the number of claimants doubled: while the People's Republic of China and South Vietnam actually occupied the islands, Taiwan and North Vietnam declared themselves the heirs of legitimate Chinese and Vietnamese claims. The discovery of oil deposits under the South China Sea led to a crisis early in 1974 when, in reaction to Vietnamese contracts with foreign oil companies, China attacked the islands from sea and air, captured the weather station crew, and assumed control of the entire archipelago. In the 1980s the Paracels, still occupied by China, remained a subject of contention.

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Universalium. 2010.

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