The Paracel Islands dispute has recently resurfaced as a source of conflict between Vietnam and China, who both claim sovereignty over the islands from ‘time immemorial’. This article re-examines their respective claims from an international law perspective. It also focuses on delineating the respective claims with emphasis on sovereignty, territory and self-determination. Based on available sources, this article suggests that Vietnam appears to have a more credible sovereignty claim over the Paracel Islands vis-à-vis China. Having thus assumed Vietnamese sovereignty, this article then sets out to explore the maritime zones that Vietnam would be entitled to under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.