The following is reproduced from the CIA World Factbook (where additional information is available). It is compiled and published annually by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States government.
The text is unchanged, except that the "Map Reference" section is omitted. Otherwise, only the layout and order was adapted for this website.
This entry in the original Factbook for the year 2001 was based on information available at 1 January 2001.
Background: This archipelago is surrounded by productive fishing grounds and potentially large oil reserves. In 1932, French Indochina annexed the islands and set up a weather station on Prattle Island; maintenance was continued by its successor Vietnam. China has occupied the Paracel Islands since 1974, when its troops captured a South Vietnamese garrison occupying the western islands. However, the islands are still claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
Economic Overview: China announced plans in 1997 to open the islands for tourism.
|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|
NA sq km
land: NA sq km
water: 0 sq km
|Area - comparative:||NA|
|Land boundaries:||0 km|
|Terrain:||Mostly low and flat|
|Elevation extremes:||Lowest point:
South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m
|Land use:||Arable land:
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
|Irrigated land:||0 sq km (1993)|
|Environment - current issues:||NA|
|Population:||No indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered Chinese garrisons (July 2001 est.)
|Country name:||Conventional long form:
conventional short form: Paracel Islands
|Ports and harbors:||Small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island being expanded|
|Airports:||1 (2000 est.)|
|Airports - with paved runways:||Total:
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2000 est.)
|Military - note:||Occupied by China|
|Disputes - international:||Occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam|
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