The Nansha Islands(Japanese: 南沙諸島, Nansha-tou) 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.
- "Nansha Islands" is the Chinese and Japanese name for the island group, known in English as the Spratly Islands, and by other names by the countries disputing its status, as noted in the Wikipedia article. They are a real-world source of political tension due to 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.
- 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.