East & Southeast Asia :: PARACEL ISLANDS
Page last updated on May 30, 2017
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  • 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
    land area is about thirteen times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC
    0 km
    518 km
    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
    agricultural land: 0%
    arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 0%
    other: 100% (2011 est.)
    0 sq km (2012)
    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: there are scattered Chinese garrisons
  • 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 (2013)
    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