Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratlys during the period 1975 to 1991(13:08 | 04-09-2012)

Since May 4th 1975, Vietnam People's Navy took over entirely the Spratlys and the other islands in the East Sea. Then, the unified Vietnam named Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), as the ownership successor of the islands and the archipelagos from the former administration under international law and the continuity of history, is responsible for continuing to affirm and maintain the protection of Vietnam's sovereignty over the two archipelagoes of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.


Soldiers’smile on the Spratlys in 1988

Along with the Constitution of 1980, 1992, the Law on National Borders in 2003, the Declaration of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam dated 12-11-1977 on the territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves within Vietnam, the Declaration of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam dated 12-11-1982 on the baseline used to calculate the width of territorial waters have consistently affirmed that the two Paracels and Spratlys are part of Vietnam's territory with its terrorial waters specified in the next text.

 


In 1979, 1981 and 1988, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam announced White Paper on Vietnam's sovereignty over the Paracels and the Spratlys. The materials demonstrate convincingly that Vietnam has the sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratlys historically, legally and practically.

On December, 09th 1982, to meet the need to manage both the Paracels and the Spratlys, the Council of Ministers of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam issued a decree in which the Paracels was named as the Paracels district and organized directly into districts of Quang Nam - Da Nang. The Spratlys was named as Spratlys district and organized into Dong Nai province. On 28-12-1982, the 4th session, National Assembly VII of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam issued a resolution separating the Spratly district from Dong Nai Province and merging into Phu Khanh provine (now Khanh Hoa province). 

 

According to Resolution of 06-11-1996 of 10th Session of National Assembly IX of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Hoang Sa district was separated from the former province, Quang Nam - Da Nang and merged into Da Nang city under central administration. The local administrations on both the Paracels and the Spratlys have continually fulfilled their tasks since then.

During the implementation of Vietnam's sovereignty over two archipelagos Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, besides the issuance of administrative documents to manage the two islands, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has had many specific actions promptly to assert sovereignty and resolutely to fight against distorted information to violate the sovereignty of Vietnam over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa since unification.

  

On 30-12-1978, Foreign Ministry spokesman of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam made a statement rejecting the allegations stated by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on the Spratlys issue and continued to assert the long-term sovereignty of Vietnam over both the Paracels and the Spratlys. He also reiterated Vietnam's stance on settling all disputes or disagreements by peaceful negotiations.

On 17-2-1979, China attacked Vietnam across the border to the north, causing the strain in the relationship between the two countries and the complexity of East Sea. Chinese troops encountered the fierce resistance from the army and people of Vietnam that forced them to retreat and take losses, but the long-term consequences of the war and breaking off diplomatic relation between the two countries led to interrupting discussions about peaceful negotiations on the islands and the boundaries for a long time.

 

 

Transportating construction materials on the Spratlys before 1988

During that time, China continuously made statements and twisted the evidences of the overeignty over the two archipelagoes, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (called Xisha and Nansha Islands by China). On 30-7-1979, China gave the so-called document demonstrating Vietnam’s admission of China's sovereignty for both the Paracels and the Spratlys. On August 7th 1979, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam issued a statement rejecting the blatant misrepresentation of China to the text of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on 14-9-1958.

 

The spirit and the meaning of this text was the recognition of 12 nautical miles of territorial sea of China and didn’t mention the two archipelagos, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, actually under the temporary management of the South Vietnam Republic government on south of 17th latitude, according to the Geneva Agreement in 1954. Occupying illegally Paracel Islands of Vietnam, China has violated the territorial integrity of Vietnam and been against the Charter of the United Nations calling on to resolve all disputes through peaceful negotiations.

 

After launching a war to invade Vietnam on a large scale, the Chinese side raised the issue of the two archipelagos, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, put the northern border of Vietnam in more and more heated condition and refused to discuss urgent measures to ensure peace and stability in border areas between the two countries.

On 28-9-1979, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam announced a White Paper put out more details to affirm Vietnam's sovereignty over both the Paracels and Spratlys. On 30-1-1980, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the claim on the two archipelagoes, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (the so-called Xisha and Nansha Islands) February 5, 1980, the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam made a statement exposing the deceitful and distorted information in China's text dated January 30, 1980 on their sovereign over the archipelagos, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. In June 1980, at 2sd conference on Asia Pacific Meteorology in Geneva, delegates of Vietnam said that the Chinese meteorological stations in Sanhudao (Paracel Islands of Vietnam) are illegal.

  

As a result of the Vietnam's statement, Hoang Sa’ stations are kept intact in the list of stations of the international system. In June 13, 1980, Vietnam requires WMO (World Meteorological Organization) registered weather station on Truong Sa in the network of WMO. In December 1981, General Post Office of Vietnam called the Chairman of International Frequency Register Board in Geneva to protest against China’s frequency on the Paracels and Spratlys of Vietnam. In December 1981, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry published the White Paper, "the Paracels and Spratlys, Vietnam's territory."

  

In June 1982, Xinhua announced that a major port was under construction in the Paracels. In October, at ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (ITU - International Telecommunication Union), Vietnam claimed not to accept the changes to the broadcasting division of 1978 in Geneva. On November 12, 1982 Vietnam announced baseline to calculate the width of territorial waters. On April 1st 1983 the World Administrative Radio Conference agreed to consider the proposal of Vietnam on broadcasting on Hoang Sa and Truong Sa at the upcoming conference. 

 

Also in January 1983, at Asia-Pacific Aviation Conference in Singapore, China suggested that the expansion of the flight information region (FIR) of Guangzhou would encroach on the FIR of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but the Conference decided to maintain the status quo. At 13rd Conference of The International Organization of Space Communications (SAT INTU) in Bangkok, Vietnam’s delegates protested against China’s using map in which Vietnam’s the Paracels and Spratlys, called Xisha and Nansha by Chinese, was wrongly written as the islands belonging to China.


 

Vietnam protested the National People's Congress declared on June 1st, 1984 that the establishment of Hainan Administrative Region included both the Xisha and Nansha. In early 1985, General Van Tien Dung, Minister of Defense of Vietnam visited the Spratlys. In May 1987, Admiral Giap Van Cuong, Navy Commander of Vietnam People's Army visited the Spratlys.

 

 

One of the naval bases of Vietnam in the Spratlys before 1988

From May 16th to October 1987, China’s Navy constantly held military exercises in the south of the East Sea and the west of Pacific. On November 10, 1987, the Chinese Navy landed at Louisa reef. In January 1988, a large number of war ships, with many frigates and missile boats of China moved from Hai Nam Island to the Spratlys of Vietnam provoked and disrupted the work of the transport ships Vietnam in the areas of Fiery Cross Reef and Cuarteron Reef. Chinese soldiers flagged on the two reefs and then they regularly provoked and stoped Vietnam’s transport ships conducting usual resupply between the islands under Vietnam’s Navy protection. 

In March 14, 1988, China’s fleet of six battle vessels, including three guardian vessels of 502, 509 and 531 equipped with rockets and 100mm artillery, wrongfully fired three of Vietnam’s transports supplies sunk when they were on duty at the reef of the islands, Lansdowne Reef (Len Đao), Colin Reef (Co Lin), Johnson South Reef (Gac Ma) belonging to Sincowe East Island, in the Spratlys of Vietnam. The attack of the ships with heavy armament of China to the transport ships of Vietnam caused the death of 64 officers and soldiers, with three Vietnam Navy’s transport ships permanently lying in the sea of the country.

The seamen of Vietnam People's Navy heroically closed the rank, maintaining national flag, symbol of sovereignty of Vietnam over the archipelagoes until the last minute. Until April 6th 1988, China illegally occupied by force the islands: Fiery Cross (Da Chu Thap), Cuarteron Reef (Da Chau Vien), Gaven (Da Ga Ven), Hughes Reef (Da Tu Nghia), Johnson South Reef (Da Gac Ma), Subi Reef (Da Subi) in the Spratlys of Vietnam.

 

In 1988, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam notified the United Nations, and sent diplomatic notes to protest the acts of Chinese; particularly the notes on 16th, 17th, 23 th March 1988 proposed that the two sides should negotiate and settle disputes. China continued to illegally occupy the captured reefs and refused to negotiate. In April 14th, 1988, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam protested China’s National Assembly had mergered the two Paracels and Spratlys of Vietnam with Hai Nam Province of China (April 13th, 1988). 

In May 4th 1988, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam published the White Paper asserted Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratlys under international law. In Agust 14th 1989, the Government of Vietnam decided to establish clusters of economic science - service on Vanguard Bank (Tư Chính), Alexandra Bank (Huyen Tran), Grainger Bank (Que Duong), Prince of Wales Bank (Phuc Tan), Prince Consort Bank (Phuc Nguyen) in Vietnam continental shelf. In October 2th 1989, the spokesman for Vietnam's Foreign Ministry rejected the allegations stated in the statement of China on 28-4-1989. On 18-3-1990, many Chinese fishing boats were in the Spratlys.

  

In April 16th 1990, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam sent a memorandum to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi to oppose many military vessels, survey vessels, fishing vessels working in Vietnam teritorrial waters of the Spratlys. In April 28th 1990, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi to oppose China’s invasion of En Dat in the Spratlys of Vietnam.

 

The view of Vietnam from Truong Sa

In September 10th 1991, the leaders of Vietnam and China signed a joint communiqué on the normalization of relations between the two countries. The common statement of the two countries confirm the normalization of relations between Vietnam and China in accordance with the fundamental and long-term interests of the two peoples that is conducive to peace, stability and development of the region. Both sides declared Vietnam and China will develop friendly relations and good neighbor, on the basis of five principles: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference into each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. Both sides agreed to conduct peaceful negotiations on territorial, border issues etc. ... existing between the two countries.

(source: Đại đoàn kết)

 

(Thanh Ly)