The Paracel Islands, also called Xisha Islands  in Chinese and Hoàng Sa Islands  in Vietnamese, is a group of islands under the administration of Hainan Province, the People’s Republic of ChinaVietnam and the Republic of China (Taiwan) also claim sovereignty of these islands. China and South Vietnam each occupied part of the Paracel Islands before 1974 when a brief conflict occurred. China took over and has controlled all of the Paracel Islands since then.

The Paracel Islands consist of over 30 isletssandbanks or reefs, occupy about 15,000 km² of the ocean surface, and are located in theSouth China SeaTurtles live on the islands, and seabirds have left nests and guano deposits, but there are no permanent human residents except for a small number of troops. The archipelago is approximately equidistant from the coastlines of Vietnam and China, 180 nautical miles SE of Hainan Island, and about one-third of the way from central Vietnam to the northern Philippines
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