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East & Southeast Asia :: PARACEL ISLANDS
Page last updated on October 07, 2017
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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 all the Paracel Islands since 1974, when its troops seized a South Vietnamese garrison occupying the western islands. China built a military installation on Woody Island with an airfield and artificial harbor. The islands also 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
    Southeast Asia
    total: ca. 7.75 sq km
    land: ca. 7.75 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 245
    land area is about 13 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC
    0 km
    518 km
    NA
    tropical
    mostly low and flat
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m
    none
    agricultural land: 0%
    arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 0%
    other: 100% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km (2012)
    a population of over 1,000 Chinese resides on Woody Island, the largest of the Paracels; there are scattered Chinese garrisons on some other islands
    typhoons
    China's use of dredged sand and coral to build artificial islands harms reef systems; ongoing human activities, including military operations, infrastructure construction, and tourism endangers local ecosystem including birds, fish, marine mammals, and marine reptiles
    composed of 130 small coral islands and reefs divided into the northeast Amphitrite Group and the western Crescent Group
  • People and Society :: PARACEL ISLANDS

  • no indigenous inhabitants
    note: Chinese activity has increased in recent years, particularly on Woody Island, where the population exceeds 1,000; there are scattered Chinese garrisons on some other islands
    a population of over 1,000 Chinese resides on Woody Island, the largest of the Paracels; there are scattered Chinese garrisons on some other islands
  • Government :: PARACEL ISLANDS

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Paracel Islands
    etymology: Portuguese navigators began to refer to the "Ilhas do Pracel" in the 16th century as a designation of low lying islets, sandbanks, and reefs scattered over a wide area; over time the name changed to "parcel" and then "paracel"
  • 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.
  • Transportation :: PARACEL ISLANDS

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 230
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island
  • Military and Security :: PARACEL ISLANDS

  • occupied by China
  • Transnational Issues :: PARACEL ISLANDS

  • occupied by China, also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam