Reference > World Factbook, 2008
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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
Paracel Islands
 
Map of Paracel Islands
 
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. China built a military installation on Mischief Reef in 1999. The islands are claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
  
Geography
  
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
Map references:Southeast Asia
Area:total: NA sq km
land: NA sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area—comparative:NA
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:518 km
Maritime claims:NA
Climate:tropical
Terrain:mostly low and flat
Elevation extremes:lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m
Natural resources:none
Land use:arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land:0 sq km
Natural hazards:typhoons
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
  
People
  
Population:no indigenous inhabitants
note: there are scattered Chinese garrisons
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Paracel Islands
  
Economy
  
Economy—overview:China announced plans in 1997 to open the islands for tourism.
  
Transportation
  
Airports:1 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Ports and terminals:small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island being expanded
  
Military
  
Military—note:occupied by China
  
Transnational Issues
  
Disputes—international:occupied by China, also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam

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