Paracel Islands


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Related to Paracel Islands: Spratly Islands

Paracel Islands

(päräsĕl`), Chin. Xisha, group of low coral islands and reefs in the South China Sea, c.175 mi (280 km) SE of Hainan island. They are rich in guano and are underlain by oil deposits. Prior to World War II the islands were part of French Indochina and served as a weather station. During the war they were occupied by Japan but passed to China and French Indochina (later South Vietnam) in the postwar years. The South Vietnamese maintained a weather station and small garrison there until 1974, when they were attacked and driven from the islands by Chinese armed forces; China administers the islands as part of Hainan prov. Chinese ownership of the archipelago is contested by Vietnam and Taiwan.
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The Paracel Islands are under the dispute between China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
Islands in the northern reaches of the South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands between Vietnam, China, and Taiwan
Relations between the Communist neighbours have plummeted since the oil rig was moved near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea in May.
Both China and Vietnam have filed appeals with the United Nations over territorial claims to the Paracel Islands after China placed huge drilling rig in the area.
The violence in Vietnam erupted after China made renewed territorial claims over the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam insists are part of the country.
Vietnam's government has called for the removal of the Chinese exploration rig from waters near the contested Paracel Islands, with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung describing China's move as "extremely dangerous," Bloomberg reported.
There have been at least three incidents of collisions between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels close to Paracel islands, which are controlled by China but claimed by Vietnam.
The boats, all from south China's Guangdong Province, were lost on Sunday afternoon as they attempted to navigate gales near the Paracel Islands, about 330 kilometers from China's island-province of Hainan, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The incident reportedly occurred last Wednesday in Vietnamese-claimed waters off the Paracel islands.
The remote Paracel Islands, an archipelago of around 130 islets, rocks, reefs and spits located about 400 kilometres off the east coast of Vietnam, are proving to be a troublesome issue for Chinese-Vietnamese relations, while also providing a reminder of China's willingness to assert its strategic presence in Southeast Asia.
The ASEAN senior officials have agreed the document will use wording such as ''disputed areas in the South China Sea,'' instead of clearly stating area such as the Spratly Islands or the Paracel Islands.