• The Paracel Islands, also known as the Xisha Islands and the Hoang Sa Archipelago, are disputed archipelago in the South China Sea.
  • The Paracel Islands dispute is slightly more complex.
  • The archipelago includes about 130 small coral islands and reefs, most grouped into the northeast Amphitrite Group or the western Crescent Group.
  • This is almost equidistant from China and Vietnam.
  • Beijing says that references to the Paracel Islands as a part of China’s sovereign territory can be found in 14th-century writings from the Song Dynasty.
  • Vietnam on the other hand, says that historical texts from at least the 15th century show that the islands were a part of its territory.
  • These islands also find mentioned in records starting from the 16th century by explorers who led expeditions to the East.
  • These include the Portuguese, British, Dutch, French, and Spanish.
  • They have all written about the Paracel Islands in various texts.
  • Colonial powers of the French-Indochina further accelerated the tensions with regard to the Islands due to their colonial policies in the 20th century.
  • By 1954, tensions had dramatically increased between China and Vietnam over the archipelago.
  • In January 1974, China and Vietnam fought over their territorial disputes after which China took over control of the islands.
  • In retaliation, in 1982, Vietnam said it had extended its administrative powers over these islands.
  • In 1999, Taiwan jumped into the fray laying its claim over the entire archipelago.
  • Since 2012, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam have attempted to reinforce their claims on the territory.
  • They have engaged in the construction of government administrative buildings, tourism, land-reclamation initiatives, etc.
  • Countries have also established and expanded their military presence on the archipelago.
paracel islands
South China Sea Dispute