Paracel Islands

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Related to Xisha Islands: Kiribati, Nansha Islands, Hoàng Sa

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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Observation platforms including buoy, deep-ocean mooring, and meteorological measurements have been set up off the Xisha Islands, Nansha Islands, and along the Luzon Strait.
In the past months, China has been involved in confrontations with Vietnamese ships that are trying to stop a Chinese oil rig deployed near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands) which is claimed by both countries.
In a statement, COSL said exploration would still take place off the Xisha islands, China's name for the disputed Paracel chain, suggesting the rig was not moving far.
The Chinese navy said a Chinese patrolling vessel "fired into the sky two warning signal shells, which burned out and extinguished in the air" after having repeatedly trying to warn the Vietnamese boats to leave the territorial waters off China's Xisha Islands, Xinhua News Agency said.
Haijian 84 and Haijian 74 left Guangzhou port on Monday and arrived at the waters South to the Xisha Islands, an administration statement said, adding that they would continue patrolling to the South, Xinhua reported.
China, for example, refers to the Paracel Islands as the Xisha islands, to the Spratly Islands as the Nansha islands, to Scarborough Shoal as Huangyan island, and to the Senkaku Islands as the Diaoyu islands.
China contends that it infringes upon China's territorial sovereignty: China believes it has indisputable sovereignty over Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters.
The agency said officials in Sansha had planned 31 "major projects" with estimated investment totalling 13.3 billion yuan (2.1 billion dollars), including opening the disputed Xisha Islands to tourists later this month.
The planned route would extend the luxury cruise lane that is now being tested to the Xisha Islands, media reports have claimed.
The Paracel islands, known as the Hoang Sa Islands in Vietnamese and as the Xisha Islands in Chinese, are located roughly midway from the coastlines of Vietnam and China.
The Vietnam National Assembly on Thursday passed the "Vietnamese Law of the Sea," which describes China's Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands in the South China Sea as being within Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction.
China is planning to develop tourism on the Xisha Islands China is mapping out a plan for developing tourism on the Xisha Islands, an official said.