Paracel Islands

Paracel Islands

Infobox Disputed Islands
name = Paracel Islands

image caption = Paracel Islands location relative to the claimants.
image size = 320px

map_custom =
native name =
native name link =
other_names = _zh. Xīshā Qúndǎo (西沙羣島 or 西沙群島) _gb. 西沙群岛 _vi. Quần đảo Hoàng Sa (群島黃沙)
location = South China Sea
coordinates = coord|16|30|N|112|00|E|type:isle|display=inline
archipelago =
total islands = 16
major islands = Rocky Island, Tree Island, Woody Island
area =
length =
width =
coastline = convert|518|km|mi
highest mount = unnamed location on Rocky Island
elevation = convert|14|m|ft
country claim = People's Republic of China
country claim divisions title = Province
country claim divisions = Hainan
country claim capital city =
country claim largest city =
country claim largest city population =
country claim leader title =
country claim leader name =
country 1 claim = Vietnam
country 1 claim divisions title = District
country 1 claim divisions = Hoang Sa, Da Nang
country 1 claim capital city =
country 1 claim largest city =
country 1 claim largest city population =
country 1 claim leader title =
country 1 claim leader name =
country 2 claim = Taiwan
country 2 claim divisions title =
country 2 claim divisions =
country 2 claim capital city =
country 2 claim largest city =
country 2 claim largest city population =
country 2 claim leader title =
country 2 claim leader name =
country = People's Republic of China
country admin divisions title =Province
country admin divisions = Hainan
country capital city =
country largest city =
country largest city population =
country leader title =
country leader name =
population = some military personnel, no permanent residents
population as of = 2008
density =
ethnic groups =
additional info =

t=西沙羣島 or 西沙群島
p=Xīshā Qúndǎo
j=sai1 saa1 kwan4 dou2
qn=Quần đảo Hoàng Sa
pic = Paracel 88.png

The Paracel Islands are a group of small islands and reefs in the South China Sea administered by the People's Republic of China but also claimed by Vietnam. The Republic of China (Taiwan) formally claims to be the legitimate government representing the entire sovereignty of China, of which it considers the Paracel Islands a part.

The islands are located in the west of the South China Sea, approximately equidistant from the coastlines of China and Vietnam, and about twice as far from the Philippines as it is from either of the first two countries.

While there are archaeological sites indicating occupation at various times in its history, by the beginning of the 20th century the islands had no indigenous inhabitants nor even a permanent population. In 1932, France took over the islands and administered them as part of French Indochina, and later, Vietnam. After World War II, the Republic of China and later the People's Republic of China on the one hand, and Vietnam and later South Vietnam on the other, each maintained control over a portion of the islands. In 1974, in the Battle of the Paracel Islands, People's Republic of China forces took control of the entire island group and has maintained control since.

The Paracel Islands are surrounded by productive fishing grounds and by potential oil and gas reserves.


* From 1460 - 1497, under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, Vietnamese began to organize the exploitation of both the Truong Sa and the Hoang Sa Archipelago farther to the north.This exploitation consisted of harvesting valuable sea-products and conducting salvaging operations to collect cargoes from vessels shipwrecked in the treacherous waters of the Truong Sa.
* From 1680 - 1705, Do Ba Cong Dao issued Route Maps from the Capital to the Four Directions This is the first Vietnamese documentation of formal exercise of authority over the Hoang sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly)
* In 1700s, State-sponsored occupation of the islands can also be traced to the reign of the Nguyen lords. Salvaging operations became formalized with the establishment of the Hoang Sa detachments or brigades, units of 70 men from the village of An Vinh, the recruitment and organization of which were regulated by the Vietnamese government.Portuguese and Dutch maps drawn by navigators in the early 17th century identify the islands as Vietnamese.
*From 1802,During the reign of the Nguyen emperors, documentation was produced that distinguished the Truong Sa archipelago from the Hoang Sa Islands and identified both as Vietnamese possessions.
* In 1816,the Vietnamese flag was planted in a formal ceremony on the Paracels
* In 1836, emperor Minh Mang received a report from his Ministry of Public Works that recommended a comprehensive survey of all the East Sea islands because of their "great strategic importance to our maritime borders."
*In 1838,Phan Huy Chu published the "Detailed Map of the Dai Nam. The map "expressly mentioned the Paracel and Spratlys, under the name Hoang sa , Van Ly Truong Sa , as part of Vietnamese territory. Also in thí year, Bishop Jean-Louis Taberd published the " Map of Great Annam" (Annam Dai Quoc Hoa Do) confirmed Paracel -Bai Cat Vang - Hoang sa as part of Vietnamese territory.
* During 1800s,the Nguyen dynasty continued to exercise jurisdiction over the Truong Sa Islands without protest from any country until the French protectorate was established over Vietnam in 1884.
*1932, Paracel Islands was placed on the map of Vietnam by the Nguyen Dynasty. The Paracel were controlled by Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam.Fact|date=December 2007
* In 1932, French Indochina and Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam annexed the islands and set up a weather station on Pattle Island.
* In 1939, Empire of Japan invaded and occupied from the French. Ironically, the official reason for the Japanese invasion was that the islands were Chinese territory.
* After World War II, the Republic of China government reaffirmed the Chinese sovereignty over the islands like other islands in the South China Sea, and dispatched patrol force to the islands, but this was challenged by the French. However, the dispute was only political and diplomatic as both sides attempted to gain US backing.
* In the latter half of 1940s, French reclaimed the Paracel Islands. The Republic of China has never accepted the French claims.
* In 1951, at the San Francisco Conference on the Treaty of San Francisco with Japan, which formally nations are sovereign over these islands, Vietnam's representative claimed that both the Paracel and Spratly Islands are territory of Vietnam, and was met with no challenge from the nations at the conference. However, neither the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China were invited. They were busy fighting a civil war, and both considered the claim was a violation of Chinese sovereignty and neither had accepted it. Both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China condemned the decision and reaffirmed their control over the islands politically and diplomatically.
* After the fall of the nationalist regime in China, the Chinese controlled eastern half of the Paracel islands also fell into the communist hands. Several small clashes occurred between the French and the communist Chinese naval forces during this period but was eventually settled along the actual line of control with the Chinese occupying Woody Island and the Macclesfield Bank while the remainder were held by Franco-Vietnamese forces. Although,there had been no recognition of any country about China claim of the island.
* After the French left in 1956, South Vietnam replaced the French in controlling the islands. Again, both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China politically and diplomatically condemned the decision and reaffirmed their control over the islands. Although the South Vietnamese inherited the same French claim over the entire Paracel Islands, the period was marked by the peace and both sides held on what was in their control without venturing into other's domain. At the same time, the maps and other official documents of the North Vietnam government during this period had shown that the islands belong to China, mainly due to the fact that China was the largest backer of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
* The political and diplomatic dispute became an armed conflict on January 20, 1974 in the Battle of Hoang Sa 1974 when the South Vietnamese Government unilaterally declared its intention to survey the island territory for petroleum extraction in early January 1974. During the same time, the South Vietnamese Navy sent a fleet of frigates to the area and positioned the fleet over the line of control. The South Vietnamese fleet fired at and killed several Chinese fishermans operating in the area at the time, as well as firing at patrolling Chinese ships and injuring Chinese Navy personnel. In response, Chinese Naval forces departed from China under order on January 20, 1974 for the Paracel Islands and swiftly overran the South Vietnamese positions on the islands in addition to the defending surface fleet. With the ensuing civil war embroiling South Vietnam's attention, no military attempt was made to retake the islands from the People's Republic of China following its defeat, and has been administered by the People's Republic of China since.

Geographical data

* Geographic coordinates: coord|16|30|N|112|00|E|type:isle|display=inline
* Coastline: 518 km
* Climate: tropical
* Elevation extremes:
** "lowest point:" South China Sea 0 m
** "highest point:" unnamed location on Rocky Island 14 m
* Natural resources: none
* Natural hazards: typhoons


* English names:
** Islands: Tree Island, West Sand, Rocky Island, Woody Island, Lincoln Island, Pattle Island, Robert Island, Money Island, Drummond Island, Duncan Island, Passu Keah, Triton Island, etc.
** Reefs: North Reef, Vuladore Reef, Discovery Reef, Bombay Reef, etc.
* Chinese names:
** Yongle Islands(永樂群島): Shanhudao, Ganquandao,Jinyindao,Chenhangdao,Jinqindao, Guangjindao, etc.
** Xuande Islands (宣德群岛): Zhaoshudao (赵述岛), Beidao (北岛), Zhongdao (中岛), Nandao (Island) (南岛), Shidao, Dongdao (东岛), Yongxingdao (永兴岛),etc.
** and also: Zhongjiandao (中建岛), Gaojianshi, Panshiyu, Yuzhuojiao,Langhuajiao (浪花礁), Beijiao (北礁), etc.
* Vietnamese names:
** Nhóm Đông (East Group, or Amphitrite Group; South Vietnamese: Nhóm An Vĩnh): đảo Cây (aka đảo Cù Mộc) (Tree Island), đảo Bắc (North Island), đảo Giữa/Trung (Middle Island), đảo Nam (South Island), đảo Phú Lâm (Woody Island), đảo Linh Côn (Lincoln Island), Cồn Cát Tây (West Sand), Cồn Cát Nam (South Sand), Đá/Hòn Tháp (Rocky Island), etc.
** Nhóm Tây (West Group, or Crescent Group; aka Nhóm Trăng Khuyết or Nhóm Nguyệt Thiềm): đảo Hoàng Sa (Pattle Island), (đảo) Đá Bắc (North Reef), đảo Hữu Nhật (Robert Island), (đảo) Đá Lồi (Discovery Reef), đảo/đá Bạch Quy (Passu Keah/Island), đảo Tri Tôn (Triton Island), đảo Quang Ảnh (Money Island), đảo Quang Hòa (Duncan Island), đảo Duy Mộng (Drummond Island), Cồn/Đá Bông Bay (Bombay Reef), Đảo/Đá Chim Yến (Vuladdore Reef), etc.

See also

* South China Sea Islands
* South China Sea
* Battle of the Paracel Islands
* Spratly Islands
* Paracels, Spratleys and Zhongsha Islands Authority


*(1686),Do Ba Cong Dao (Buu Cam Translated), “Toan Tap Thien Nam Tu Chí Lo Do Thu ”, Hong Duc Ban Do, Saigon, 1962.
*(1776) Le Quí Don (Le Xuan Giao Translated), Phu Bien Tap Luc,Saigon, 1972
*(1821)Phan Huy CHU (Nguyen Tho Duc Translated), "Lich Trieu Hien Chuong Loai Chí”, Saøigoøn, 1972.
*Jean Louis TABERD, “Note on the Geography of Cochinchina”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, boä VI, 9/1837
*(1838) Jean Louis TABERD, “Additional Notice on the Geography of Cochinchina”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, boä VII, 4/1838, pp 317 - 324.
*(1849) GUTZLAFF, “Geography of the Cochinchinese Empire”, Journal of The Geographical Society of London, vol the 19th, p93.
*Vietnamese Claims to the Truong Sa Archipelago.Todd C. Kelly ,August 1999

External links

* [ Sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, by Monique Chemillier-Gendreau]
* [ Website about Paracels and Spratly]
* [ CIA World Factbook for Paracel Islands]
* [ Territorial claims in the Spratly and Paracel Islands]
* [ Paracels Islands Dispute]

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