VietNamNet Bridge – China recently intentionally misqouted a diplomatic letter of late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, addressed to China on September 14, 1958, with the aim of distorting the truth of Viet Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos.
First of all, PM Pham Van Dong’s letter only recognized and approved the decision regarding the 12 nautical mile breadth for China’s territorial sea.
Secondly, PM Pham Van Dong’s letter had no word mentioning territorial and sovereignty issue or any archipelagos. Therefore, the letter did not have a constitutive character for giving up territory.
Thirdly, by the Geneva Accords, Viet Nam was devided temporarily into two parts at the 17th parallel, pending reunification through free general elections.
China is one of the signatories of the Geneva Accords and it must know clearly that the two archipelagos Paracels and Spratlys, lying under the 17th parallel, were under the administration of the Republic of Viet Nam.
Viet Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) was recognized at the San Francisco Conference in September 1951, which was to settle the issues of territories after the second World War with the participation of 51 states.
At this conference, Head of the Vietnamese delegation, Prime Minister of Bao Dai’s Government Tran Van Huu reaffirmed Viet Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos without any objections from 50 other states.
After signing the Geneva Accords, the French Government transferred the two islands to the Republic of Viet Nam which had maintained effective control and exercised sovereignty over the two archipelagos.
Since Viet Nam regained unification in 1975, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam administered the islands in Truong Sa archipelago and constantly asserted its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago.
Under the contemporary international law on territorial acquisition, a state is recognized to have sovereignty over some territory if that state can prove its occupation of and exercising sovereignty over such territory in the capacity as a state in an effective, continuous and peaceful manner. Accordingly, Viet Nam has established and exercised its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos in accordance with principles of international law.
By the use of force, China occupied the Hoang Sa archipelago in 1956 and 1974. Some islets, rocks and shoals in the Truong Sa archipelago of Viet Nam were also occupied by China in 1988. Any acts of using force to occupy Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos constituted a serious violation of the UN Charter and principles of international law.
A diplomatic memorandum, an official document issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 12, 1988 clearly stated a fundamental principle of international law that sovereignty over a territory can not be achieved through invasion.
China uses distorted information to decieve others but over the past days, no country in the world has voiced support for China’s illegal placement of its drilling rig in Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.