FM releases proof of islands sovereignty

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-10 0:48:01

China's foreign ministry has released substantial evidence, including an official note from Vietnam's then-premier Pham Van Dong in 1958, proving that Vietnam acknowledged China's sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha islands but later reneged on its words.

The evidence, which was made public on the ministry's website Sunday, includes, in both Chinese and English, a Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China on China's Territorial Sea released on September 4, 1958.

The declaration states that the breadth of the territorial sea of China shall be 12 nautical miles and that the provision applies to "all Chinese territories including … the Dongsha Islands, the Xisha Islands, the Zhongsha Islands, the Nansha Islands and all other islands belong to China which are separated from the mainland and its coastal islands by the high seas."

In a note sent on September 14, 1958 by then-premier of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Pham Van Dong to Chinese then-premier Zhou Enlai, Dong stated that the Vietnamese government "recognizes and supports" the declaration of China's territorial sea.

"The Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam respects this decision and will instruct the responsible state organs that in all their intercourse with the People's Republic of China on the sea, they should strictly respect the decision that the breadth of China's territorial sea is 12 nautical miles," Dong's note read.

"Dong's note and other evidence clearly show the so-called disputes between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea are nothing but unreasonable provocation from Vietnam. China's sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands are historic facts written in official state documents and are protected by international laws," Zhuang Guotu, dean of the School for Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University in Fujian Province, told the Global Times.

"It is clear that under international law, once something is written into an official state document, there is no turning back. However, the same government that acknowledged China's territory in 1958 now blatantly denies the fact and challenges China's sovereignty," Zhuang said.

Since May 2, Vietnam has continued to escalate its provocative disruption of a Chinese company's drilling operation near the waters of the Xisha Islands. Hanoi has also allowed anti-China demonstrations to turn into riots without restraint, killing five Chinese as well as looting assets and burning down factories.

"Under such conditions, we feel it necessary to tell the international community the truth and set straight their understanding on the issue," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday.

Other evidence included the cover of the World Atlas printed in May 1972 by the Bureau of Survey and Cartography under the Office of the Premier of Vietnam, which recognized the Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands by their Chinese names rather than the Vietnamese names the Vietnam government later designated.

The foreign ministry also presented a copy of a ninth-grade geography textbook chapter entitled "The People's Republic of China" published by Vietnam's Educational Press in 1974, which read that "The chain of islands from the Nansha Islands and the Xisha Islands to … constitute a Great Wall defending the Chinese mainland."

Vietnam began to change its rhetoric on the islands after the conclusion of the Vietnam War in 1975.

"China supported North Vietnam and helped it win the war that eventually unified the country. What Vietnam does now makes it look like a rogue state that throws away its national integrity whenever they see benefits," said Wu Shicun, director of the Haikou-based National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Newspaper headline: 1958 Vietnam note supports China’s right

Posted in: Diplomacy

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