East & Southeast Asia :: Paracel Islands
page last updated on September 22, 2009
Location of Paracel Islands
Map of Paracel Islands
Introduction ::Paracel Islands
The Paracel Islands are 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. China built a military installation on Mischief Reef in 1999. The islands are claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
Geography ::Paracel Islands
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
16 30 N, 112 00 E
total: NA sq km
land: NA sq km
water: 0 sq km
0 km
518 km
mostly low and flat
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
0 sq km
composed of 130 small coral islands and reefs divided into the northeast Amphitrite Group and the western Crescent Group
People ::Paracel Islands
no indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered Chinese garrisons
Government ::Paracel Islands
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Paracel Islands
Economy ::Paracel Islands
The islands have the potential for oil and gas development. Waters around the islands support commercial fishing, but the islands themselves are not populated on a permanent basis. China announced plans in 1997 to open the islands for tourism.
Transportation ::Paracel Islands
1 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 227
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island being expanded
Military ::Paracel Islands
occupied by China
Transnational Issues ::Paracel Islands
occupied by China, also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam