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 2005 was last updated by the CIA on 2 May, 2006.
Background: 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. The islands are claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
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|
|Area:||Total: 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: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (2005)|
|Irrigated land:||0 sq km (1998 est.)|
|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|
|Population:||No indigenous inhabitants note: there are scattered Chinese garrisons|
|Country name:||Conventional long form: none conventional short form: Paracel Islands|
|Airports - with paved runways:||Total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)|
|Ports and terminals:||Small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island being expanded|
|Military - note:||Occupied by China|
|Disputes - international:||Occupied by China, also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam|
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