The Nansha Islands are a group of over 100 small islands in the South China Sea, with no indigenous inhabitants. In the 1970's rich oil and natural gas deposits were discovered offshore in the islands, resulting in competing territorial claims to them by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
As a result of the global economic upheaval following Second Impact in the year 2000, in 2003 China and Vietnam went to war over possession of the Nansha Islands and their vital resources. In response to the outbreak of this conflict, the Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force was formed in Japan.
According to a radio broadcast overheard in Episode 14, by 2015 the Nansha Islands remain a conflict zone, with terrorists conducting suicide bombings in a continuing pattern of political unrest.
- The Nansha Islands are a real-world source of political tension between countries with competing claims to the potentially vast natural resources contained under their waters, and fighting over the Nansha Islands is often cited by strategic analysts as one of the most probable causes of a major war breaking out in the region.
- "Nansha Islands" is the Chinese name for the island group: each country that has made a territorial claim to the islands has a different name for them. The official name used by the United Nations is the "Spratley Islands". That by 2015 they are referred to by the Chinese name for the island group may be an implication that China won the war against Vietnam over control of the islands and proceeded to occupy them.
- As pointed out in this forum post, the real-life Nansha Islands are only four meters above sea level at their highest point, so the flooding caused by the melting of the Antarctic ice cap would completely submerge them. Their continued existence is an error in geography on the part of the show's creators.