Political map of China, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia 19 January 1974 (Battle of the Paracel Islands): The 1969 Sino-Soviet conflict encouraged the United States to improve relations with the People's Republic of China, leading to the United Nations recognition of the PRC and expulsion of Nationalist China (Taiwan) in 1971 (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758). Emboldened by this and the end of US involvement in Vietnam, China seized the disputed Paracel Islands from South Vietnam in 1974 (Battle of the Paracel Islands), the first of its moves to assert its claims to the islands of the South China Sea.