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Old documents prove VN sovereignty

Update: June, 04/2014 - 08:21
Conclusive proof: Well-known HCM City historian and geographer Nguyen Dinh Dau points to copies of maps showing Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy
HA NOI (VNS) — The Institute of Han-Nom Studies yesterday introduced a book that confirms the Paracel and Spratly islands are owned by Viet Nam. (Han-Nom is an old form of Vietnamese script using modified Chinese characters).

It also made public an ancient Chinese government text book printed in 1912 that recognises China's southernmost border end as Hainan Island.

The Vietnamese book titled A Number of Han-Nom Documents on Viet Nam's Sovereignty over Paracel and Spratly Islands and Other Sea Areas of the Country in the East Sea includes 46 documents confirming Viet Nam's sovereignty over the islands.

Associate Professor Dr Trinh Khac Manh of the Viet Nam Academy of Social Science said the documents clearly show that every year since the reign of Nguyen Lords (1525), the Vietnamese State had sent officials to inspect the affairs on the Paracel and Spratly islands long frequented by Vietnamese fishermen.

Since the 17th century, the State also set up fleets of boats with soldiers to manage the islands and to build temples and sovereign markers. Citizens were also sent to the two archipelagos to live and do fishing.

"During the era of King Minh Mang (1791-1841), the islands underwent new developments. Businessmen from Macau had a map that showed the Paracel Islands belong to Viet Nam. They made offerings to King Gia Long of Viet Nam not to the Chinese Qing dynasty. This shows that the Chinese are clearly aware of Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Paracels," said Manh.

Chairman of the Academy of Social Science Nguyen Xuan Thang said the documents enforce the sovereignty of old Vietnamese states over the islands and were solid legal evidence.

Thang added the collection also includes a book titled Jiao Zhou Geography by Chinese authors, a rewritten version of a book from the Ming dynasty, which also recognised that the Paracels belonged to Viet Nam.

The documents in the possession of the academy include the Nam Viet map, maps drawn during the Minh Mang period and many others, said Manh.

In addition, the book also introduces documents confirming Viet Nam's sovereignty over the two island groups.

These have been recorded in the Dai Viet Su Ky Tuc Bien (Continuation of Historians' Records of Great Viet) by Lord Trinh Sam in 1775 and an official geographical book Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi (History of Unification of Great Viet) compiled by the National Historiographer's office during the Nguyen dynasty).

"We plan to translate and publish our book in English to provide international friends with evidence confirming Viet Nam's sovereignty over the two archipelagos," said Manh.

Referring to the Chinese text book printed in 1912 that recognised the Chinese southern border ended at Hainan Island, Manh said it was highly important because "it was published by the Chinese Education Ministry and can be considered recognition at State level that these islands were and still are not theirs".

He said it was among a 3,000-page collection of research material for a Han-Nom Directory on Viet Nam's Sea and Islands approved by the Viet Nam Academy of Social Science.

Part of the collection has already been published in a 480-page book titled Documenta on Viet Nam's Hoang Sa, Truong Sa and its Sea Areas in East Sea, said Manh.

Historic evidence

The Viet Nam National University-HCM City on the occasion of Viet Nam's Sea and Island Week from June 1-8, introduced a book yesterday that confirms Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

The book, Chu Quyen Viet Nam Tren Bien Dong va Hoang Sa-Truong Sa (Viet Nam's Sovereignty in the East Sea and Hoang Sa-Truong Sa) was written by well-known HCM City historian and geographer Nguyen Dinh Dau.

The eight-chapter book includes historical descriptions of the islands in the East Sea and their status during the Late Le dynasty, the Tay Son dynasty, the period from 1945 to 1975, and from 1975 to the present time.

The book contains maps from the 15th century onwards that were created by Vietnamese, Chinese, Europeans and Americans to help in exploration and commercial navigation.

The book, edited and published by Viet Nam National University-HCM City, also includes records of historians who have confirmed Viet Nam's sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.

Phan Thanh Binh, director of Viet Nam National University-HCM City, said the book showed solid historical evidence for the country's sovereignty over the two archipelagos.

Historian Dau, 94, of Ha Noi, has spent his entire life studying Viet Nam's history and geography, collecting more than 3,000 old maps of Viet Nam and hundreds of international maps related to the country and its islands.

With his research and collections, Dau won the 2008 Research Prize presented annually by the Phan Chu Trinh Culture Fund for the purpose of encouraging and honouring researchers in social sciences and humanities.

The maps are being displayed at an exhibition at the HCM City General Science Library in District 1 until June 8. — VNS

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