This tropical archipelago, about one-third of the way from central Vietnam to the northern Philippines, is composed of 130 small coral islands and reefs divided into the northeast Amphitrite Group and the western Crescent Group. It is 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 Vietnam and Taiwan. In 1997, China announced plans to open the islands to tourism!
China has built an airstrip on one of the islands.
Small Chinese port facilities on Woody Island and Duncan Island are being expanded.
Although the economic value of the archipelago's waters for fishing, and the suspected presence of underwater petroleum reserves are their primary source of interest, there is currently no economic activity taking place on the islands themselves.
There are no public accommodations in the Paracel Islands.
This page was last edited at 01:07, on 13 October 2008 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Stacy Hall and Todd VerBeek and Wikitravel user(s) InterLangBot, Bijee and CIAWorldFactbook2002.